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Fri, Dec. 26th, 2008, 04:21 pm
Now on Twitter

I'm been experimenting with microblogging. You can now see what I'm up to by following my Twitter feed.

Tue, Feb. 26th, 2008, 08:32 pm
Media coverage of Chip & PIN vulnerabilities

Saar Drimer, Ross Anderson, and I have been investigating the security of Chip & PIN terminals. We found significant failings almost everywhere we looked.

Our results are now public, and will be featured on BBC Newsnight, 10:30pm, tonight, BBC2. We have summarized our findings in a brief press release and FAQ. The full details are in our academic paper.

The press is starting to pick up our story, and it is discussed on ZDNet and the BBC wesbite. More media coverage is expected.

Mon, Nov. 5th, 2007, 10:51 am
Ely cathedral

As well as my digital compact, I also have a Nikon F65 film SLR, although I use it less often nowadays. This set is from Summer 2004, from when me and my parents visited Ely, taken on Kodak T400 CN B/W film. I used a variety of colour filters for contrast enhancement, for example the one on the right was taken with a deep red or orange filter to emphasise the clouds.

I spent most of my time photographing the cathedral, which is of an interesting design. It's a mixture of styles, since conventions changed over its construction, and bits that collapsed were replaced with new ones more in keeping with the current fashions. One of the later additions was the octagon tower, which you can see close up by climbing onto the roof. There is also a good view of the surrounding countryside, or by looking down into the cathedral.

One advantage of the SLR is that it performs much better in low-light conditions. The T400 film is also quite forgiving of under-exposure. So I was able to take a few shots of the interior, without needing a tripod. The alter turned out quite nicely, as did the photo of the nave with choir in the background (these were with the 28mm wide-angle lens). Within the choir itself, you can see the light coming in from the lantern tower.

Two of the photos, of the octagon tower and West tower are being considered for use in a book (this is what caused me to dig out the CD). It's only a self-published novel, but I'll enjoy seeing them in print.

Finally, I took some photos of a duckling family, in a park near the cathedral. They were surprisingly not bothered with me, and in fact I got more attention from the people nearby, who were wondering why I was slowly crawling around on the grass with a 300mm telephoto lens and filter pack :-)

Fri, Oct. 26th, 2007, 10:15 pm

Trinitatis Kirke
Originally uploaded by sjmurdoch
My second set of photos from Denmark are in Copenhagen where EuroBSDCon was held.

The flights were fine, after I made it past airport security with my dangerous bottle of water and the waiting. From the plane, I got a good view of the impressive bridges linking the Danish islands. I would later see them again on the way to Legoland, which I posted about last week. The airport was good, unless you are a smoker, in which case you get stuck in a small box, while I got the train to the center of town.

I was staying with many of the other speakers at the city youth hostel. It was very good as youth hostels go, and I used Hugin to make a panorama from the great view. Later I tried taking a few night shots. Were my room on the other side, I'd have had a view of Tivoli gardens, and the funfair.

The conference itself was fun and my talk went down well (it won second prize). The (generally friendly) Linux/BSD competition amused me. In fact, Copenhagen was a generally happy placed, the graffiti made me laugh and even the power sockets were happy. :-) Things there were a little different, for example I thought this device was a card skimmer, but I am assured it is entirely legitimate. The street furniture was quite neat, such as the crossing marking to help blind people.

I spent my last day in some of the city gardens, especially the botanic gardens, filled with exotic plants, fascinating ironwork, and statues. Then I went to the Trinity Church, which is complete with pipe organs, both old and new. Finally, at the airport, I noticed an Avro RGJ85. This reminded me of my Manchester trip, where the Avro company was founded. Although this wasn't the plane I took back, I believe this Avro would be much more comfortable than some of their previous museum pieces I saw.

Thu, Oct. 18th, 2007, 12:22 pm
Legoland Denmark

Legoland Denmark
Originally uploaded by sjmurdoch
As part of my trip to Denmark in September for EuroBSDCon, many of the attendees visited Legoland in Billund, about 4 hours away by coach from Copenhagen. It was a fascinating place and I took lots of photos, a few of which are now online.

The majority of Legoland consisted of models of famous buildings and places from around the world, such as America, Japan and Africa. There were also rides, such as being flung around on the end of an industrial robot arm, or a more relaxing revolving tower to get a good view of the park. Some however decided to make activities a bit more challenging.

For the more competitive minded, there were suitable activities. One that excited the various operating system hackers present was to build a downhill racing car. We were very proud that with our combined knowledge and experience we could design a marginally faster model than a group of 5 or so year old children. I did at times wonder who were the bigger kids :-)

We were lucky with the weather and it was a fun experience, though the exhibits were not without occasional technical problems, even ignoring the invasion of monster ducks :-)

Wed, Oct. 10th, 2007, 10:54 pm
Charlotte and Stephen's wedding

This set is one from the archives, the wedding of my friends Charlotte Goodburn and Stephen John, in July 2007, but I only just got around to uploading it (I'm still behind, but catching up).

I know the couple through the bride, Charlotte (aka Camille) Goodburn, when we were on the committee of the China Forum. Amazingly she both managed to organize a wedding and a conference at the same time, but apparently the conference was the easier of the two :-)

The wedding was held in St Catherine's college, Cambridge. Following the ceremony we went outside to the garden, then back into the hall for speeches and dinner.

Much dancing happened, and silliness ensued. Overall I think everyone had a good time. By the time people were leaving, it was dark, but fortunately it wasn't far to get home.

Thu, Sep. 27th, 2007, 01:00 pm

Renaissance house
Kazimierz Dolny
Originally uploaded by sjmurdoch
Last month I visited Kazimierz Dolny, a small town near Warsaw, Poland. I've put a few of my photos online.

I flew from Luton to Warsaw with the pink themed WizzAir (a Hungarian budget airline) which was generally OK. There was a short delay on the return flight, which was unfortunate as I had to spend more time in the cramped "Etudia" terminal. The main terminal was fine though.

The town is situated on the banks of the Vistula, and is now frequented both by tourists and artists, having some fine examples of Renaissance architecture such as the house pictured above and church. It is also popular for weddings (we saw several), and I noted that one of the brides sensibly chose appropriate footwear for the cobbled streets :-)

Finally, despite the beautiful surroundings, I was was still able to find time for a little geekiness, when I saw a jukebox reboot into SuSE Linux.

Sun, Sep. 9th, 2007, 05:30 pm
Museum of Science and Industry, Manchester

"black-box" flight recorder
Museum of Science and Industry
Originally uploaded by sjmurdoch
When I visited Manchester, for Claire and Mark's wedding, I had a spare day during which I did a bit of geek tourism, by visiting the Museum of Science and Industry. This was among the best of the science museums I've visited, and is free admission, so well worth checking out if you are nearby. I've finally got around to uploading a selection of my photos.

I was staying at the Days Hotel, which was a reasonable hotel, but one of the neat features was the Foucault pendulum in the lobby, mounted on the top floor (Wikipedia describes the operation).

My favourite exhibit at the MoSI was the steam section. In other museums, the engines are either static, or wired up to a slow-running electric motor. In the Manchester museum, they're driven by real steam and, as far as I can tell, at full speed. This makes the experience far more realistic and much easier to appreciate the power behind these machines.

I also liked the computing exhibits, including the Pegasus and a reconstruction of the Manchester Baby. The latter is demonstrated once a week by the enthusiasts who built it, but when I visited the exhibit was closed. However, one of the museum staff was kind enough to allow me and a few other interested visitors to look at it.

Finally, I went to the Air and Space hall, which contained many interesting artifacts, probably the most impressive being the Avro Shackleton bomber. I was also amused at the bright-orange "black-box" (which incidentally is the code-name of a project I was working on at the time).

Fri, Aug. 31st, 2007, 12:20 pm
USENIX Security 2007, Boston

USENIX Security 2007
Originally uploaded by sjmurdoch

In early August, I visited Boston, MA, USA for a week, mainly to attend the USENIX security symposium, where my paper was to be presented. I also attended a couple of meetings, visit MIT and had enough time for a quick look around Boston. I've published a selection of the photos I took.

The trip started in Cambridge, and from there me and Robert travelled to Heathrow. Then we flew into Boston Logan.

Our hotel claimed that we would be staying in a "VIP room", but other than the view, was fairly unexceptional. At MIT I took some photos of the Stata Center. The taxi driver didn't know how to find it, until I explained that it was the "really weird building". I could relax about my USENIX paper, since Saar was presenting it, and we even won the best student paper award.

On my final day, I walked to Boston Common, and took a few photos of the wildlife, scenery, and random people. Finally I visited the Museum of Science, taking photos mainly of butterflies but one or two of the other exhibits.

My trip back to the UK was pleasantly uneventful, and I was there for almost two weeks before I travelled to Poland (photos to follow).

Wed, Jul. 25th, 2007, 10:19 pm
Claire and Mark's wedding, Manchester

Claire and Mark
Originally uploaded by sjmurdoch

Earlier this month I attended the wedding of my friend Claire, who I know from our time at Girton College. This was held in Manchester, and was my first time visiting the town. A good time was had by all, and I've published a selection of the photos, mainly from the reception held in Manchester town hall.

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