Argentina

I went to Argentina. For fun. It was fun.

 

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Do not be confused, that even though it says “Russia,” it is still in Argentina.

 

After I got back, I went to the hills in California, because that is where I live. Actually we were going to Yosemite, but it was so crowded that day, we decided to turn around instead. Go another day.

 

 

That is why there is both snow and green, because coming down from the mountain, it got greener.

Train Ride

Not long ago, I read a blog about a guy who rode Amtrak from San Francisco to New York. “That’s cool,” I thought. The next day, my friend messaged me (because who uses phones) asking, “Do you want to go to New York by train?” I messaged back, “uh…..why not.”

Within a week I was going across the country in an Amktrak car. I have to say, coach is not a very comfortable place to sleep three nights in a row. If you take this trip, be sure to pack your own food. You’ll be glad you did.

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Further Boston adventures

Here I am trying to pose like a revolutionary war hero.

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Paul Revere’s old house is looking rather worn down, but they’re restoring it.

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Also tried some great Italian pizza in North whatever of Boston, and some cannoli. Cannoli will probably take time to get used to.

Boston

Here are some pics from my current trip to Boston. I am here to visit my brother, but mainly I’ve been wandering around since he has work.

This is the entryway to the library. Imagine having a library like this. To be honest, the library does better at being a museum than a library. They have an archaic system for organizing books, not the Dewey Decimal system.

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This is a famous old church

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A piano from the 1790s. One of the first pianos built.

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A fan  from the Philippines, 1700s. It’s hard to see, but the fan is decorated entirely with feathers. The faces of the people, the horses, everything. I can’t imagine doing that out of feathers, it is so ornate.

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A clock made from gold. These were from the Boston Fine Arts Museum.

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DefCon

DefCon, the hacker’s convention. The only real reason to come to Vegas, and here I am. Learning to be a better computer hacker.

A brief note about Vegas, before moving on. We went to Gordon Ramsay’s hamburger restaurant. Apparently he’s a big chef. You can see pictures of flames in the window of his restaurant:

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Between my friend and I, we had $60 worth of hamburgers. Where do restaurants charge $60 for a couple hamburgers? In Las Vegas. For such an expensive hamburger, it better be really good, right? I wish I could say so, but there are three or four hamburger places in the Bay Area that are better, for a fraction of the cost. The Counter. Rave Burger. Five Guys.  Maybe Las Vegas is popular for people who’ve never seen anything more sophisticated than Olive Garden.

And gambling, of course. Give your money to the casino.

Back to the real story, DefCon is why we are here. Stood in line for two hours to register, and of course they only took cash, so the FBI can’t trace who is attending. Basically it’s a lot of talks about computer security. I mostly am here so when I write software, I can know how to make it more secure. Keeping up on the latest techniques hackers are using.

The admission badge comes with a lanyard. The lanyard has some writing on it, which I will display in the following picture:

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The picture showed up in reverse, but you can see there is writing on it. The writing is a code. The code is a puzzle. If you solve the puzzle, you get free admission next year (and forever). So, all evening, instead of gambling or drinking, I’ve been consulting letter frequency lists. I still haven’t figured it out, it’s stumped me. Here are my notes so far:

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I’m fairly confident the “†” character represents the letter e, but other than that, I’m lost. Oh well, a puzzle should be hard if it comes with a good prize. My friend is not helping at the moment, he is playing a video game. Lazy bum, come help me!