Philip Brewer's Writing Progress


Thursday, 06 September 2001

I got a tiny bit of writing done yesterday, and the bookstore story is at 840 words.

Rapunzel discovered in the night that she can reach Jackie's earring rack if she stands on the clothes hamper. So, both Jackie and I were up several times at 3:30 AM or so to thwart the cat's efforts to acquire new cat toys made of precious metals and semi-precious stones. I never really got back to sleep after that, and ended up getting up by 4:00 AM or so.

But, I made good use of my time. I made a last pass over "Political Science" (fixed a few typos and punctuation, tweeked a couple places where I had "it" or "they" with a referent that wasn't as clear as it could be, and added one more sentence of description to make the location clearer). Then I printed out the story and a cover letter, and packaged it all up to take to the post office on my way to work. I now have three stories and one article out to editors. It's the most I've had out at once in a very long time.

It's about time to start hearing back on some of these mss.

I went for a run, and then Jackie and I lifted weights.

The system I get my personal email on, Prairienet, has disabled telnet because of a security bug. So the only way to get in now is ssh. That would be fine, except that my employer doesn't allow ssh to go out through the firewall.

They've never said why they do this. The presumption among employees is that they don't want traffic going off-site that they can't read. That's crazy, of course. If I wanted to sneak secret material off-site I could burn CDs and carry off untold gigabytes. Or, I could set up an innocuous-seeming telnet connection and leak information through any of a variety of cryptographic techniques. Or I could just encrypt the data and email it to myself. (They allow that.) So, their scheme ends up taking my time and effort to accommodate while providing them with no increased security.

My current plan is to enable telnet on my home server (only from my employer's telnet gateway machines), login using s/key, and then ssh from my home machine to Prairienet. That should be adequately secure while still giving me access to my personal email during the day.

It's nice to be able to do this. (Most of my geek friends could, but most other people couldn't.) But I hate spending time on system administration when I could be writing.


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