All posts by cryptosmith

Writer, educator, and consultant in cybersecurity; author of three books.

Lord of the Rings, II?

This DVD cover comes from a pirated DVD, circa 2001. The English text provides a classic example of an English translation adapted for appearance instead of relevance. The movie was sold in the black market in Beijing, so the Chinese text was what mattered to most buyers. There are at least three separate movies described in English, none of which matched the included DVD.

Click on the image to see an enlarged version.

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Chevy Bolt: A Tour Under the EV’s Hood

Some friends and I were talking about my Chevy Bolt and, of course, we had to lift the hood and look inside. Seriously, I had no idea what I was looking at. In a conventional car, the internal combustion engine dominates the space under the hood. It’s a part of our culture to know what the major components are. This doesn’t help you at all when looking under an EV’s hood.

Now I know what’s inside a Bolt. I produced a 4-minute Youtube video on it.

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Seventh Grade Virginia History, 1963

I used that history book.
The teacher wasn't a Virginian,
Her accent was deeper South.

Every 12 year old in every public school
statewide
used that book.

3 chapters on Jamestown and settlers.
3 chapters on Washington, Jefferson, Mason,
  Madison, Henry, Lee Sr., and the Revolution.
3 chapters on Lee, Jr., and 
  the War between the States.
(my book fair buy was controversially titled
  "The Civil War")
1 chapter on Reconstruction.
1 chapter on the 20th Century.

Our class discussed the Confederate flags
(there were a half dozen to choose from)
and picked their favorite.

That summer, across the river in DC,
Dr. King had a dream.

Shared Household Contact List on iCloud

Lena Shore's logoSomeone on Apple’s support discussion group claimed “this can’t be done.” Apple explicitly supports shared calendars, but not shared contacts. They probably haven’t figured out how to deal with two people updating things at the same time.

Then I found this terrific article by Lena Shore. Most of us have our contacts saved in a “personal” iCloud account. Shore’s approach is to set up a “household” iCloud account. You save the shared contact list to the household account. Then you enable Contacts under both accounts. Everyone who does this will see both their personal list and the household list.

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Six Thoughts on Merit Badge Requirements and Learning Challenges

Merit Badges, Douglas Murth/Wikimedia Commons

I was recently asked for guidance from a merit badge counselor  working with a Scout whose learning abilities are severely affected by Down syndrome. The Scout could master the physical aspects of the badge but struggled with the “discuss” and “explain” requirements.

Here are my thoughts. They are not anyone’s gospel. I’d love to hear what guidelines other people use.

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How Boys with Down Syndrome Become Eagle Scouts

Eagle Scout AwardA rumor says children with Down syndrome can’t earn the Eagle Scout award.

This is nonsense. See stories about Coleman and Brandt, Adam, Zach and Mike, Elliott, another Zach,  Max, Daniel, and a third Zach.

Not every Scout can hike and swim, and not every Scout advances as fast as every other. If a Scout has a bona fide medical condition, like Down Syndrome, the Scout can still take the trail to Eagle.

Some Scouts follow their own, customized trail. Alternate requirements need special approval. Scouts can get time extensions in special circumstances.

Caveat: I’m speaking as someone with a lot of experience with Scouting and special needs, and not in any official capacity within Boy Scouts.

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Rail Travel Fail

Riding a train instead of an airplane always seemsrailroad crossing sign with big X like a great idea. But railroad travel remains a half-century behind all other forms of passenger travel.

I’m going to the Boy Scout Jamboree this summer, and Amtrak stops at the Prince, West Virginia, station. This is within driving distance of Mt. Hope, site of the Jamboree at the Summit Bechtel Reserve. But I can’t quite make it work.

The rail industry assumes that train riders are either traveling locally or are willing to do a lot of research and planning. Train travel also requires a super-flexible schedule and creative baggage management.

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