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The way we talk can have profound affects on the way we see the world and, in turn, the way the world sees and interacts with us. One of the easiest ways of eliminating poor, irrational, upsetting, and alienating communication (ie. to increase your general likability) is to stop stating opinions as facts.

I recently came across a simple hack for this called E-Prime. The basic idea is to eliminate the verb “to be” from your vocabulary. For example, “She is an annoying person” becomes “She annoys me sometimes” or “I find her annoying”. This shifts your statements from making a judgement to stating a fact. I have found that paying attention to how I state facts and opinions has not only made me more likable, but also made me more aware of how I judge my self and others. See REBT if you want more information on the bennefits of that.

If you want more more information on E-Prime, check out the Wikipedia article here:

There are many reasons you might want to tweet from the shell. Mine is that I want to be able to send one-liners in to evernote directly from terminal. I looked it up and found that since Twitter has updated to using Oauth for their API this has become much more diffucult. But there is a work around that doesn’t involve using oauth libs.

Enter Super Tweet: They provide a proxy to the twitter API which allows you to still use basic authentication to send tweets. You can sign up here: .

Once you have a Super Tweet account set up, create an auth file in your home directory with your Super Tweet account info as fallows:


Resist the urge to call your auth file something like “twitter_password” and make  sure to change the premissions so that only you can view it. I called my file “.twitter_a”.

Then just create this one line script:

curl -u `cat ~/.twitter_a` -d status="$*"

You can now use the script like so:

./ my awesome tweet goes here

This is all bare bones and it leaves a lot to be desired, but hey it works! Feel free to modify it and come up with your own uses for twitter in the CLI.

Hey just a quick tip.  I created a small script for generating passwords using The syntax is:


Gets a good password from

getpass simple

Gets a simple password from

Here is the code:

if [ "$1" == "simple" ]; then
wget -q -O -
wget -q -O -


We know it today as “six degrees of separation”, but did you know that number is actually loosely based on the results of an actual experiment?

In the 1960s Stanly Milgram (you know Stanly Milgram he’s the one that tricked subjects in to thinking they were torturing people for science) set out the answer the question of how connected we all really are.

Here’s the general method:

1. Though the experiment went through several variations, Milgram typically chose individuals in the U.S. cities of Omaha, Nebraska and Wichita, Kansas to be the starting points and Boston, Massachusetts to be the end point of a chain of correspondence. These cities were selected because they were thought to represent a great distance in the United States, both socially and geographically.

2. Information packets were initially sent to “randomly” selected individuals in Omaha or Wichita. They included letters, which detailed the study’s purpose, and basic information about a target contact person in Boston. It additionally contained a roster on which they could write their own name, as well as business reply cards that were pre-addressed to Harvard.

3. Upon receiving the invitation to participate, the recipient was asked whether he or she personally knew the contact person described in the letter. If so, the person was to forward the letter directly to that person. For the purposes of this study, knowing someone “personally” was defined as knowing them on a first-name basis.

4. In the more likely case that the person did not personally know the target, then the person was to think of a friend or relative he knew personally who was more likely to know the target. He was then directed to sign his name on the roster and forward the packet to that person. A postcard was also mailed to the researchers at Harvard so that they could track the chain’s progression toward the target.

5. When and if the package eventually reached the contact person in Boston, the researchers could examine the roster to count the number of times it had been forwarded from person to person. Additionally, for packages that never reached the destination, the incoming postcards helped identify the break point in the chain.

When Milgram did this with 300 people trying to contact one man in Boston, the results where that the man received about 100 letters from people he knew. Milgram found that the average number of links was 6.

Milgram never actually used the phrase “6 degrees of separation” and if you are following along you may notice that this experiment has some flaws. However, after a Psychology Today article (go figure) was eventually written about the Small World Experiment, the “6 degrees” was legitimized and now the phrase is sometimes falsely attributed to Milgram.

I’ve been experimenting with Facebook API. First step in using it is to get a token. This requires some user interaction. I started with code from Mining The Social Web. You can download the login script here:

I made one modification. I’m using Python for Cygwin so the webbrowser class doesn’t really work. Instead I replaced line 76 with:

os.system('chrome "'
+ urllib.urlencode(args) + '"')

and in Cygwin I created a symlink to the chrome executable in /usr/bin/ . Now when I run the script the access token loads in chrome. That’s it.

Stay tuned for part two where I’ll be showing you some of the fun I’ve been having gathering data about my FB friends 🙂

I was thinking of not posting this because it looks and works a lot like those stupid “see who views your FB profile” worms, but if you know javascript you can tell that it’s not doing anything malicious, just fun 😉

Paste this in to the address bar:

javascript:R=0; x1=.1; y1=.05; x2=.25; y2=.24; x3=1.6; y3=.24; x4=300; y4=200; x5=300; y5=200; DI=document.getElementsByTagName("img"); DIL=DI.length; function A(){for(i=0; i-DIL; i++){DIS=DI[ i ].style; DIS.position='absolute'; DIS.left=(Math.sin(R*x1+i*x2+x3)*x4+x5)+"px";*y1+i*y2+y3)*y4+y5)+"px"}R++}setInterval('A()',50); void(0)

Works best on a site with a lot of images!

What follows is a list of “hacker movies” in no particular order.

War Games (1983)

War Games


A young man finds a back door into a military central computer in which reality is confused with game-playing, possibly starting World War III.

Hackers (1995)




A young boy is arrested by the US Secret Service for writing a computer virus and is banned from using a computer until his 18th birthday

Prime Risk (1985)

Prime Risk

A female engineer, with the assistance of her pilot-wannabe male friend, discovers a way to rip off ATM machines, but in doing so stumbles upon a plot to destroy the U.S. monetary system.

Takedown (2000)




This film is based on the story of the capture of computer hacker “Kevin Mitnick”.

Explorers (1985)



Ben Crandall, an alien-obsessed kid, dreams one night of a circuit board. Drawing out the circuit, he and his friends Wolfgang and Darren set it up

The Social Network (2010)


The Social Network


A chronicle of the founding of Facebook, the social-networking Web site.

Cloak And Dagger (1984)


Cloak and Dagger


11-year-old Davey, whose mother is dead and whose father doesn’t spend nearly enough time with him. So the boy loses himself in video games–and even has an imaginary friend, a super-resourceful secret agent.

Enigma (2001)



A young genius frantically races against time to crack an enemy code and solve the mystery surrounding the woman he loves.

Ghost In The Shell (1995)

Ghost In the Shell


A female cyborg cop and her partner hunt a mysterious and powerful hacker called the Puppet Master.

The Conversation (1974)

The Conversation


A paranoid and personally-secretive surveillance expert has a crisis of conscience when he suspects that a couple he is spying on will be murdered.

Anti-Trust (2001)


Anti Trust


A computer programmer’s dream job at a hot Portland-based firm turns nightmarish when he discovers his boss has a secret and ruthless means of dispatching anti-trust problems.

Middle Men (2009)

Middle Men


Chronicles Jack Harris, one of the pioneers of internet commerce, as he wrestles with his morals and struggles not to drown in a sea of conmen, mobsters, drug addicts, and pornstars.

Jurassic Park (1993)


Jurassic Park


During a preview tour, a theme park suffers a major power breakdown that allows its cloned dinosaur exhibits to run amok.

Tron: Legacy (2010)


Tron Legacy


The son of a virtual world designer goes looking for his father and ends up inside the digital world that his father designed. He meets his father’s creation turned bad and a unique ally who was born inside the digital domain of The Grid.

Pirates of Silicon Valley (1999)


Pirates of Silicon Valley


History of Apple and Microsoft.

Sneakers (1992)



Complex but lighthearted thriller about computers and cryptography, government and espionage, secrets and deception and betrayal.

The Matrix (1999)


The Matrix


A computer hacker learns from mysterious rebels about the true nature of his reality and his role in the war against its controllers.

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2009)

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo


A journalist is aided in his search for a woman who has been missing — or dead — for forty years by a young female hacker.

Die Hard (1998)

Die Hard


New York cop John McClane gives terrorists a dose of their own medicine as they hold hostages in an LA office building.

Swordfish (2001)


A secretive renegade counter-terrorist co-opts the world’s greatest hacker (who is trying to stay clean) to steal billions in US Government dirty money.

Leverage follows a team of robin hood thieves.  From the show’s opening: “The rich and powerful take what they want, we steal it back for you”.

What’s really great about this show is that the producers took the time to make each heist at least somewhat plausible with lots of references to wifi hacking,  social engineering, and even NLP.

Of course there is a little Hollywood flare, but if you are interested in how someone might pull off a large scale con/heist/hack this show is worth a look. Plus the characters are great and come on, a heist movie every episode, can’t beat that!