Is That a Faraday Cage In Your Pocket?

by Nick Wednesday, November 29, 2006 2:36 PM

Or are you just happy to see me?  One of my favorite online geek stores is Think Geek, and I subscribe to their RSS feed so I can get updates on their coolest new gadgets and toys.  One of their latest is an RFID blocking wallet.  It is a nice looking leather wallet, but has a Faraday cage built in.  Why is this important?

One of the scarier trends in the credit card industry is the inclusion of RFID chips in credit and debit cards.  Visa is marketing this concept as Visa Contactless, and MasterCard now has the PayPass system.  Many of their card issuers are using it already.  Unfortunately, with some simple equipment bought from Radio Shack, and a little technical knowledge gained from the Internet, identity theft becomes much easier.  With something hidden in a backpack or briefcase, a thief can now read your credit card information at a distance.

A Faraday cage built into a wallet is a simple, and very convenient solution to this problem, as it blocks the RFID signal from getting to the card.  That means that your card can only be read when you take it out of your wallet to pay with it, which is the only time you want it read anyway.  Most importantly, you don't need aluminum foil in your pants.  It's the perfect Christmas gift for the concerned consumer in your life.  You don't even need to be a geek to have one.

Yes It's Geeky, But It's Useful Too

by Nick Monday, November 27, 2006 5:12 AM

Normally I try to only post the really geeky stuff on The Coding Monkey, but this is so damn useful, that I have to cross post it.  There is a new beta site called Zamzar, which is a free site for performing any of 150 different conversion types.  You see the complete list here.  Need to convert a Word document to PDF but don't have Acrobat?  Done.  Have some AC3 files you want to move over to MP3?  No problem.  Go check it out.

I Think Not

by Nick Wednesday, November 22, 2006 11:46 AM

C|Net has compiled a list of the top 10 Geek Girls.  Among those on the list are Ada Byron (the world's first programmer) and Grace Hopper (who found the first computer 'bug').  Also on the list is Paris Hilton, apparently because her fetish for pink electronic goodies, and slutty ways, make it irresistible.  Talk about an insult to women everywhere.  You couldn't find an actual female geek to put on that list to round out your top 10?

She's not an actress (despite being on TV), not a singer (despite putting out a record), and definitely not a geek.  She's a tramp... and #1 on that list.  Oh yeah, Lisa Simpson made the list too.

I Want One Of These!

by Nick Monday, November 20, 2006 10:36 AM

I think this is one of the coolest things I've ever seen, and I can imagine about a dozen uses for the programmability of this thing... not to mention the sheer cool factor.  Ladies and gentlemen... I give you the Optimus keyboard:

 

Granted it will be kind of expensive... at least for a keyboard.  But the OLED LED key technology that will switch the key display depending on the layout, and the ability to have visually different keys show up depending on what application you have active at the time is totally cool.  I have a feeling that this thing will be mine.  It's not released yet... but will be soon.  The developers also have a blog devoted to the project.

Use This Site!

by Nick Thursday, November 09, 2006 10:46 AM

One of the most insanely useful blogs that I'm reading right now is Ajaxian.  I'm not even doing a ton of web or AJAX development right now, but the amount of insanely useful libraries and websites that this guy blogs about makes this site worth its weight in gold!  First add the Ajaxian feed to your aggregator, then read through all the archives.  I promise you won't regret it.

Bar Camp USA

by Nick Thursday, November 09, 2006 10:23 AM

As if BarCampMadison weren't enough, now the same folks who are organizing the Madison event (me included) are going to be planning another Bar Camp in August 2007 called BarCampUSA.  You can find out more about the event and sign up at the BarCampUSA website.  It will be held at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds, which is about 2 hours from Chicago, and is planned to be jam packed with 4 days of events.  If you'd like to spread the word, you can also read about it on Digg and digg the story.

Bar Camp Madison

by Nick Thursday, November 02, 2006 2:49 PM

To all of you software types in South Eastern Wisconsin... take a look at Bar Camp Madison:

BarCamp is an ad-hoc gathering born from the desire for people to share and learn in an open environment. It is an intense event with discussions, demos, and interaction from participants. BarCampMadison is currently planned to be 30 hour event focused on technology and creativity.

Bar Camps have been springing up everywhere.  You can find out more about the concept, and previous events, at the main page.  Bar Camp Madison is being sponsored by Stratagem Consulting, and is currently in the early organizational phases, with a goal of running in early 2007.  If you're interested, check out the site and sign up to participate!

A Lesser Employee Would Have Been Scared

by Nick Wednesday, November 01, 2006 9:39 AM

Yesterday my resource manager (my boss at the consulting company) came to my client to say hi to me.  She was dressed, very convincingly, as the grim reaper.  Having been through a lay off I wasn't exactly expecting once before... let's just say that seeing my boss dressed as the grim reaper isn't as funny as you might think.  However, since I'd just gotten a great review, promotion and raise a couple weeks ago, I had no fear.  I wonder how the rest of the people she visited fared.

She made up for it by bringing Halloween cookies.  That makes up for everything.

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Nick Schweitzer Nick Schweitzer
Wauwatosa, WI

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I'm a Software Consultant in the Milwaukee area. Among various geeky pursuits, I'm also an amateur triathlete, and enjoy rock climbing. I also like to think I'm a political pundit. ... Full Bio

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