The Rants Page

Rants? A page for Rants?

Yes, this is my rants page.

A rant, before you hit that plonk button, is a light but deep, mirthful but serious, indiscriminate but incisive commentary on topics dear to a ranter's heart.

A rant is to the Internet as an essay is to a teacher of languages. A literary oyster, a rant is often bad, occaisionally good, always with that hope of a pearl if only one more can be opened. A pile of rants is a chore, only filtering that rare shiny wonder by its discoverer raising it up across the net for all to see.

Of course, anything as rashly named as the Internet cannot draw on previous conventions. We must by nature invent our own term; and deriving from countless arguments to the tune < he rants / he does not > we extract our customary rules, the customary disobeying of same always confining the author to the shame of complete agreement amongst the readers ... < he rants >.

Which is the first rule: not everyone must find your discussive ranting accessible. Raise the bar, increase the pace, challenge the grey hairs and bemuse the newbies.

Next. No rant takes longer to write than some smallish multiplier over the time to read. Not some thesis, nor preparation for legislative session, neither preliminary draft. A rant is straight from a moment, through a fire of tipping finger, past a mental spell checker, and out into the noise of a thousand mailgroups.

A rant takes no prisoners. A rant takes its victims by the jugular. A rant does not mince its bytes. Why? In the blunt technical manuals world of the Internet, it is simply that the beauty of subtle irony and the delight of seductive sarcasm would all be lost, wasted, inadequately compensated for, if the ranter was so stupid, so out of tune, so shy as to apply same.

A rant requires only the permission of inspiration. It follows no rules, and especially not those listed here. It generates no royalties, is granted no right of way, causes no liabilities. A rant arrives with nothing to commend to the reader, other than itself.

And, before this rant recurses the dear reader into the oblivion of a poorly written post, I present ...

My rants! Sorted as most recent, and thus most relevent, first!

Research into security and especially of signalling has led me to believe that one way to establish trust in a security vendor is to examine their disclosures of failures. This would be the anti-Choicepoint record, as it were. Here's an attempt to do so; an experiment in voluntary breach disclosure. Not exactly a security breach, something far worse!

The Twilight Zone: I always knew it existed, that dim awful place where your accounting system forks and delivers valid transactions in separated times and places. This is my story of how it happened, and musings towards a systemic solution for the dark problem that nobody dare admit.

Well, it finally happened. We issued a dollar! The results astounded, amazed, and also rewrote the book on what a currency can do. This was my response to repeated and shrill requests for an understanding of what it was we had done.

The Systemics PSD: How we raised capital at 0%, saved our creditors from an accounting nightmare, gave our suppliers a discount and got to bed before midnight.

Is an obit a rant? In a sense it is. I learnt of Gary's death the same day that we drove in and delivered "the boxes" that were to play such a key part of the next year. It seemed fitting to place his story up to that point.

Gary Howland 197? - 2002: I am reminded of his obit by Gary's elevation to the Doomed Engineers page. He would have been proud.

I was Inspired by Word of Dark and Evil Rumours to Ponder just what an Issuer Should be Allowed to do, and why? This Resulted in a Developing Theory of Honour and Nobility, now Proudly Presented in:

Ivan the Honourable

A recent series on one of our shared products, XML/X, wherein I lay out how to use it for almost anything:

XML/X - I - as a spend
XML/X - II - separation
XML/X - III - Governance
XML/X - IV - The Bridge

Just recently re-found, here is the viewpoint I wrote on the events of 911, the very next day. To get our team focused on where to head, I tried to link how 911 related to an important project we were working on - delivering finance to poor people. I'm not sure that I got that message across, but it is interesting to see how the predictions stood the test of time.

911 - Comments made the day after
(Note that this is not the original post, but a team variant. I haven't got the original subject line.)

Somewhere after the flushed success of our first Edinburgh Financial Cryptography Conference (EFCE), I penned this finger-wagging on aspects of good (and bad) Governance:

Separation of Control -- A Principle of Financial Cryptography

I don't write too many rants, about one a year. Here's one forced by exigencies of waiting for the inevitable, as my first hurricane approached...

It's Sunday and there's a hurricane coming...

You had to be there!

The Dutch are mad hackers. Every four years or so, they hold an open air camp get-together for the purposes of just hacking. In 1997, Hacking In Progress, better known as HIP 97, was held just outside Amsterdam with 3000 hackers, thousands of tents, and uncountable machines. Here's a few rants I wrote from the campsites for those who couldn't be there.

It's cool to be
Hipped on PGP

I thought I had written other rants from HIP, but haven't found them as yet.

Here's a brave and foolish attack on the world of banking, derived from a discovery of the perfect MP3:

rtprio(1) plays mp3s, hangs record companies, and passes death sentence on the banks

Sadly, my first ever rant is lost to prosterity, even though it was a cypherpunks-posted mini-epic, and we know that all cypherpunks posts are archived... Therein lies the tale of another rant, which, sadly, lacks that critcal element, inspiration, and, until then,


And may your rants never receive that verbal dagger, "in your post of yesterday, I noticed a number of spelling mistakes."


Too Lite?!? See my Papers Page for more serious, published papers on various monetary subjects.