Secure browsing on open Wi-Fi hotspots

I frequently connect to insecure Wi-Fi networks on my iOS devices and my Mac. Aside from the risk of eavesdropping and malware when connecting to these hotspots, they frequently block access to services, insert advertisements in web pages, or worse. To work around these problems, I’ve tried numerous virtual private network (VPN) services. My experience with most of them has been awful. They tend to connect slowly or not at all, and I frequently can’t access anything on the Internet once the VPN connection is made. [Read More]

On making good coffee

A couple of years ago, I was inspired to improve my diet. As part of that, I started drinking my coffee black. As someone who formerly drank coffee with lots of artificial sweetener and non-dairy “creamer” or milk, it came as a surprise that the switch was pretty easy. I got used to black coffee in a week or two and haven’t looked back. I’ve since discovered that coffee with any kind of creamer or sweetener has now become completely unpalatable. [Read More]

Use Dropbox to host public files on your own domain name

I’ve been using a Dropbox public folder and some Apache trickery to share files directly from Dropbox on my own domain at Dropbox is drag-and-drop file sharing at its finest, and by sharing my files on my own domain instead of on, my files are accessible to corporate folks who would otherwise find themselves blocked by an over-zealous web filter. Last but not least, if one of my files becomes too popular, Dropbox won’t shut down my account. [Read More]

Opendiag OBD-II Schematics & PCB Layout

Back in 2000, I created my first open-source hardware: An RS-232 to OBD-II interface. I’m no longer interested in this project, but it gets a surprising amount of traffic every day. I’m keeping it available for those who want it. Today there are far better approaches for connecting computers to cars, so please keep in mind that this information hasn’t been updated since 2002. [Read More]

Google Hangouts for iOS: Google Talk gets pushy

Since switching from Android to iOS, I’ve been looking for an instant messaging client that works well with Google Talk. Push notifications are essential for the “instant” part of instant messaging. Unfortunately, most iOS Talk apps only have push capability until the application times out in the background (10 minutes); One client, Verbs IM Pro (App Store link), has server-based push notifications, but it times out after a week, and has some bugs and reliability issues. [Read More]