Monday, February 19, 2007

Google Summer of Code 2007

Google Summer of Code 2007 is on!

I will be giving a presentation about my experience last year and trying my best at a Q&A session for my peers about Summer of Code in a few weeks time. I'm hoping that what I present will be useful information to those who attend and I plan to put my slides online alongside the audio so that others can have access to this hopefully useful resource.

I'll also make a post about how I went about writing an application last year. I think that most people will want to know the secret to writing a good application. It'll be a shame when I tell them that the secret is hard work.

The time line for SoC 2007 looks great - I love the fact that there is a grace period which will allow for students to get up to speed with their mentoring organization. Good work, Google!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

How Secure is a Secure Erase in Disk Utility?

I've been reading about the Secure Erase options in Disk Utility. The 7-pass erase and the 35-pass erase in particular.

This article gives an overview of the differences between the 7-erase pass and the 35-erase pass. I've decided to ignore the write zeros to disk option since it should be clear to most people that is pretty ineffective in real data scrubbing.

The 7-pass erase is based on the DoD 5220.22-M specification which demands 3 passes conforms to scrubbing data at a military standard. The Google Cache for the document describing this specification is available if you search for 5200.28-STD.

The 35-pass erase is a totally different beast. The implementation is based on research at the University of Auckland in New Zealand. The method uses information about how data is originally written to a magnetic disk in order to provide the best possible scrubbing of data. The author of this report notes that nothing short of using an extremely powerful magnet can guarantee the probable removal of data - and he cites a powerful navy magnet that actually warped the disk platters as a suitable magnet.

You might wonder why I am blogging about this? Well I found it to be interesting and I always wanted to know more about the implementation that Apple's Disk Utility uses and maybe now you can know more too.


I have recently volunteered to work with the Adium project. I wanted to work on another project and the release of Adium 1.0 propelled them onto my radar. They seem to have a great project structure and I'm hoping that things work out really well with them in the future!

At the moment I am working on the documentation for building Adium from scratch because we all need to grab the source and build a piece of software before we can contribute any code to a project!

The way that the Camino Wiki is used was an inspiration for me to set up a Scratchpad on the Adium Deveopment Wiki so that there could be a place for everybody to work on a not-quite-so-live copy of the documentation to improve it.

Who knows where things will go from here?

PS I am still working on Camino. My time is squashed at the moment because I am writing my undergraduate dissertation and the things that I need to work on for the tabbed browsing will require me sitting down for more than 5 minutes at a time.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

The Worldwide Developers Conference 2007

Yesterday, Apple announced the dates of the Apple technical and social event of the year - WWDC. June 11 - June 15 looks good on paper because I don't graduate until 26th June so it will not interfere with the big day.

Apple has not posted any information about student scholarships yet. I am worried that as a final year student I may not be eligible for a scholarship even thought I will still be a fully matriculated student until I graduate.

Worst case scenario is that I need to pay for the £699 WWDC ticket alongside a LHR - SFO return ticket - currently £568 - with no cost for accomodation because I have a friend who lives in Newark who is willing to let me sleep on their couch.

If I knew that Apple offered scholarships to graduating students then I guess I'd pay for the flights now but if they don't then I cannot really afford to attend WWDC which is disappointing.

I wonder if there are any open-source donate to a good cause shenanagins that I could pull off here... I doubt that I would because it would tarnish my e-character!

Does anybody know of any respectable avenues that I can explore to help reduce the cost of attending WWDC this year?