Palm Pilot Won't Sync

My Palm m500 stopped syncing yesterday much to my consternation. I tried updating the sync software and Palm Desktop neither of which worked. I tried using XP’s system restore to fall back a few days which did no good. The extended service plan I had purchased from Best Buy expired three weeks ago (I had made use of the service plan already as the Handspring I had initially bought died slightly over a year after purchase, so the plan came through when it was needed).

As usual Google came through with some great search results to my query ‘m500 sync problem‘ including ‘ How To: Possible Fix for m500 Series USB Problem‘ which fixed the issue I was experiencing.

Apparently the m500 is susceptible to static electricity. As the weather has necessitated the use of a heater which dries out the air, we have had a good deal of small shocks. One of which was apparently delivered to my Palm Pilot. This shock threw the USB control chip out of whack so the device wasn’t able to speak with my computer.

To fix the issue I had to totally drain the battery, let it recharge and sync it up. All appears to be well with it now.

I can hardly remember what life was like without an electronic brain.

Between Silk and Cyanide

I sped through this book. It is easy to read, yet chock full of information about the use of cryptography by the British in World War II as told by a man who was in the midst of it. I cannot recommend it enough.

The basic concepts are explained in a way that make sense, ensuring that the technicalities do not take over. While I have read several crypto books, none have had the narrative style employed by Mr. Marks which makes his work so easy to read.

Between Silk and Cyanide is not an introduction to cryptography as its focus is the people forming history; but if you aren’t sure if you want to dive into learning about cryptography it might provide you with the first glimmer of understanding of the concepts.

Special Operations Executive (SOE) was created in July 1940 with a mandate from Winston Churchill to “set Europe ablaze.” Its main function was to infiltrate agents into enemy-occupied territory to perform acts of sabotage and form the resistance movements into secret armies. There have been many books and films about the breaking of codes — but this is the first one about making them from a man who actually did.

Leo Marks joined SOE in 1942 at the age of twenty-two. A cryptographer of genius, he had revolutionized code-making by the time he was twenty-three. In replacing the outdated and dangerous poem codes with an ingenious system of one-time codes printed on silk that could easily be destroyed, Marks was instrumental in both stymieing German counter-intelligence and saving hundreds of agent’s lives. He discloses how and why he broke General de Gaulle’s secret code; details the adventures of saboteurs who parachuted into Norway to destroy a heavy water plant; did surveillance on Hitler’s long-range missile base at Pennemunde; and organized the secret armies of occupied Europe building up to D-Day. Editorial Reviews

The Other Alex Jones

Living in Austin has lead to some interesting situations, not the least of which is the reaction some people have when they discover my name is Alex Jones.

You see, there is at least one other Alex Jones in Austin. He is a conspiracy theorist.

I am not.

He has public access TV shows and radio shows.

I do not.

We both have Web sites. is his forum. This is mine.

A while back when I was rooming with Guy and the phone was under my name we would occasionally receive calls for the other Alex Jones. Most were quite friendly when we explained that they had called the wrong Alex Jones.

Some accused us of hiding the truth.

One left a message asking that we help his girlfriend break him out of St. David’s Hospital as he was being held against his will.

I didn’t call him back.

Watching the other Alex Jones is interesting. The man is articulate and exudes personality. But his messages are too far out there for me to believe in. Every zealot has to push the boundaries of belief to gain attention and notoriety to gain the public spotlight and the other Alex Jones does it well.

Billboards warning the public of an imminent U.N. invasion of the U.S. is just the tip of the iceberg.

Well, I’m not going to dive into this topic any more at this point as I don’t have the time, and am not interested in the flame war that could quite easily start on this topic. Check out his site and make up your own mind.

** I’m opening this one up for comments. As I will be moving soon, don’t be surprised if it takes me a couple of weeks to respond. Talk amongst yourselves.

William Gibson

Man oh man oh man! William Gibson, one of my favorite authors has finally set up his blog. If you don’t know who he is I will give you a very short bio. He wrote Neuromancer in 1984, in which he coined the term “cyberspace” and kicked of the genre of “cyberpunk”. The movie Johnny Mnemonic is based on his short story (he also wrote the screenplay) and an amazing amount of science fiction (print and screen) have used his concepts as a foundation for their world. Most notable of which is the movie The Matrix.

This site shall be a daily read.