April 28, 2011

BBC World Have Your Say: Sony Playstation Network Hacked

Filed under: Blog — krkhan @ 4:12 am

I was invited to BBC’s Islamabad studios today to participate in their World Have Your Say program regarding Sony’s Playstation Network being hacked. It was really fun, and while I was a little nervous about going on-air live on BBC World Service I tried to explain the difference between PSN and console-homebrew hackers as well as the importance of educating the users about their security. You can listen to the podcast directly or use the player below to stream the audio:

[audio:] Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

April 26, 2011

There and Back Again — Google Summer of Code 2011

Filed under: Blog — krkhan @ 3:43 am

GSoC 2011 Logo

After completing my project for last year‘s Summer of Code my degree was delayed for a while because of flunking a few courses. Glass half full, this gave me the chance to participate once more before I finally graduate this summer — Deo volente.

In a repeat of last year I once again became a duplicate student as my proposals for both Fedora and Tor projects ended up in top slots. Both organizations were really nice in the de-duplication process and inquired about my preference which inclined towards Tor since it allowed me to contribute to fields of privacy and anonymity. In words of Free Software Foundation:

Using free software, Tor has enabled roughly 36 million people around the world to experience freedom of access and expression on the Internet while keeping them in control of their privacy and anonymity. Its network has proved pivotal in dissident movements in both Iran and more recently Egypt.

This by no means implies any lesser significance for Fedora in my life and I would have been as much enthused had it been my mentoring organization for the summer instead of EFF. However, since I had to make a choice I went for the option where I would be contributing more directly to privacy enhancing technologies.

My project this summer revolves around improving the excellent Anonymizing Relay Monitor (arm) which is used by the Tor community to monitor and control bridges and relays. The complete proposal can be read here (or via the original PDF). It contains nitty-gritty details of my summer aspirations as well as non-technical stuff like why I want to contribute to this particular field.

I Know What I Did Last Summer, and I’m looking forward to doing it again. Quoting myself from FLOSS Manuals:

“Summer of Code is about much more than just code. The sheer fun of integrating with the open-source community and your mentoring organization can in fact outweigh the gratification of actual coding. “

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

April 9, 2011

Live to hack, hack to live

Filed under: Blog — krkhan @ 6:06 am

Just spotted this comment on Gnome Bugzilla:

I would like to extend my thanks to the gnome team/community for a great last
moment with my dad.

Adrian Hands (my father) wrote the patch above to improve the usability of
gnome for himself and others. You see my dad was suffering from ALS and his
hands were so crippled he could no longer use a keyboard. Thus we used a Darci
usb morse code keyboard emulator to help him type. Even the morse code device
was a struggle as the sensitivity adjustment and positioning of the nice two
paddled key would fall out of whack. I rigged up a pvc cage that wrapped around
his knee and fixed remote switches to the cage so that he could use the
remaining strength in his legs to operate the Darci morse code device. He used
this last bit of body movement to write this patch.

My father passed away yesterday. I went back through my email to find our last
correspondence (he was in India for treatment, and I live in Raleigh). I would
like to share the email with you.

On Sun, Jan 30, 2011 at 12:16 PM, Adrian Hands <> wrote:

> commit 0b209b1ff16e863e60a1d86413aa57c5fbde76b0
> Author: Adrian Hands <>
> Date:   Fri Dec 31 14:34:58 2010 +0100
>    Add Copy Image and Copy Path to clipboard functionality
>    Fixes bug 78514.
>  data/eog-ui.xml  |    9 +++++++
>  src/eog-window.c |   63 ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
>  2 files changed, 72 insertions(+), 0 deletions(-)

I have the coolest Dad in the world!

I am so glad that my last comment to my Dad was something like this.

Adrian Hands loved free software / open source. I do as well.

Thanks so much for the great software, and a new great memory.

Adrian Hands
(Click on the thumbnail for larger version.)

“A hundred times every day I remind myself that my inner and outer life are based on the labors of other men, living and dead, and that I must exert myself in order to give in the same measure as I have received and am still receiving.” — Albert Einstein

Tags: , , ,