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The Many Faces of an Undying Programming Language

July 20, 2020 ❖ Tags: opinion, programming, lisp, common-lisp, scheme

This is a post I've been meaning to write for a while now: one anecdotally comparing programming languages in the Lisp family. I consider myself to be a Lisp hacker. Perhaps that much was obvious from the letter λ adorning my website's header, a reference to the λ-calculus which inspired John McCarthy to design the first LISP [1]. Yet, "Lisp hacker" likely means little unless you, too, consider yourself to be a Lisp hacker. Calling yourself one seems carry some level of unstated meaning. Indeed, some identify with more specific groups. "Schemer," or "Guiler," or "Racketeer," or "Clojurist." But "Lisp Hackers" ⊇ "Schemers". There is commonality shared among all, or at least most, of these programming languages, and the Lisp hackers recognize and appreciate that commonality – the characteristics that make a programming language a Lisp. Homoiconic syntax, powerful metaprogramming facilities, and editor support that, in my opinion, is unparalleled. (Yes, I am alluding to GNU Emacs.) This article, however, is concerned with the differences. In it, I will be considering the specifics of each dialect, and whether or not those specifics make for a language I would want to use to develop a new piece of software.

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Investigating a Backdoor.SH.SHELLBOT.AA Infection

January 22, 2020 ❖ Tags: writeup, reverse-engineering, linux, security

It's typical for the younger sibling to look up to and mimic the older sibling, which is apparently what happened while I was away at school. I'm self-hosting a few services off of a Raspberry Pi B+ back at my parents' house, and when my brother got a Pi of his own, he decided that he also wanted to use it for self-hosting. Unfortunately, he doesn't know much about security, and unintentionally did me the favor of setting up a honeypot.

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Browser Games Aren't an Easy Target

January 10, 2020 ❖ Tags: writeup, programming, reverse-engineering, video-games, game-hacking, javascript

If you're about my age and had a similarly dull upbringing, you probably also have memories of playing video games behind a teacher's back whenever class involved going to some sort of "computer lab." Flash games were the thing when I was in elementary school, and when I was in middle school, I'd bring Quake with me on a flash drive. By the time I was in high school, I'd realized that these opportunities were better spent getting a head start on homework for other classes, but I did have a few friends who still passed the time playing video games. Rather than Flash games or Quake, though, these were browser games using the new-fangled HTML5 canvas. I'd practically forgotten these games existed until someone from my capture-the-flag team mentioned "krunker.io". Apparently it's one of the more popular ones. It got me thinking about how I'd go about writing cheats for a game in the browser. Writing cheats for CS:GO was a breeze, so why would this be any harder? I had some time to spare over winter break, so I decided to give it a go and see what kind of damage I could do.

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First Impressions of the Myrddin Programming Language

January 05, 2020 ❖ Tags: opinion, programming, myrddin

It's been over a year since I last wrote about contenders for the throne that C currently sits upon, so I'll spare you the prosy introduction and cut to the chase. I'd like to share some thoughts on my recent foray into a little programming language I came across while browsing lobste.rs some years ago: Myrddin, the pet project of Ori Bernstein. From the language specification, "Myrddin is designed to be a simple programming language. It is designed to provide the programmer with predictable behavior and a pragmatic set of semantics, providing the benefits of strong type checking, generics, type inference, and modern features with a high cost-benefit ratio. Myrddin is not a language designed to explore the forefront of type theory or compiler technology. Its focus is on being a practical, small, well defined, and easy to understand language for work that needs to be close to the hardware. Myrddin is influenced strongly by C and ML, with ideas from too many other places to name." The front page of the website specifically states that "[i]t aims to fit into a similar niche as C, but with fewer bullets in your feet." I see these descriptions and the cat-v-inspired stylesheets as a warning to those who don't appreciate a spartan attitude towards software development. Fortunately, I'm not one of those people.

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Writeups for Dennis Yurichev's Reverse Engineering Challenges (#36-#74)

December 29, 2019 ❖ Tags: writeup, reverse-engineering, x86

This is the fourth and final set of for my self-imposed challenge of completing at least fifty of the exercises on Dennis Yurichev's challenges.re by the end of the year. The previous set is available here.

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Writeups for Dennis Yurichev's Reverse Engineering Challenges (#23-#35)

August 18, 2019 ❖ Tags: writeup, reverse-engineering, x86

This is the third set of solutions for my self-imposed challenge of completing at least fifty of the exercises on Dennis Yurichev's challenges.re by the end of the year. The previous set is available here.

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Towards Guix for DevOps

July 13, 2019 ↻ Crosspost ❖ Tags: writeup, programming, functional-programming, linux, guix, lisp, scheme, guile

Hey, there! I'm Jakob, a Google Summer of Code intern and new contributor to Guix. Since May, I've been working on a DevOps automation tool for the Guix System, which we've been calling guix deploy.

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Writeups for Dennis Yurichev's Reverse Engineering Challenges (#12-#22)

May 28, 2019 ❖ Tags: writeup, reverse-engineering, x86

This is the second set of solutions for my self-imposed challenge of completing at least fifty of the exercises on Dennis Yurichev's challenges.re by the end of the year. The first set is available here.

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Transitioning to Haunt

May 04, 2019 ❖ Tags: writeup, programming, lisp, scheme, emacs, emacs-lisp

Rather than study for finals this week, I spent my time moving this blog over to Haunt. Previously, I was using Hugo, and while ox-hugo made the authoring workflow tolerable, doing anything on the rendering side of things was unsavory at best. I eventually had enough and decided to look for another solution, of which Haunt was the most enticing.

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Writeups for PlaidCTF 2019

April 14, 2019 ❖ Tags: writeup, security, reverse-engineering, capture-the-flag, x86, c, python

My long-lived hiatus from capture-the-flag has come to an end, as I got off my ass this weekend to play in PlaidCTF 2019. Being a one-man team is pretty lonely, but my old team wasn't playing, and even if they were, I don't know if I would've wanted to make the commute just to play with them.

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