Survey of PackBits-like RLE compression schemes

This post is a survey of some run-length encoding (RLE) data compression formats, most of which are used for bitmapped graphics. One such format is PackBits. It's sort of the granddaddy of them, or the canonical example of such a format. Sometimes, formats similar to it are said to be "PackBits-like", though the term doesn't … Continue reading Survey of PackBits-like RLE compression schemes

Analyzing some Windows Write files

Write is the word processing program that came with Microsoft Windows 3.x (and earlier versions of Windows, but it's 3.x that I'm concerned with here). Many thousands of free and shareware programs were written for Windows 3.x, and a lot of them include some documentation in Write's WRI file format. Objectively, most of them should … Continue reading Analyzing some Windows Write files

The 2019 TLS certificate serial number mess

Remember the Great TLS Certificate Serial Number Brouhaha of March, 2019? Millions of website certificates have been mis-issued! Everything is insecure! The sky is falling! Revoke and replace, ASAP! I barely do, but I remember thinking it was a really stupid overreaction. Now I've gone back and reviewed what happened, and I'll try to explain … Continue reading The 2019 TLS certificate serial number mess

Are humans descended from monkeys?

Are humans descended from monkeys? It's an interesting question. Too many well-meaning scientifically-minded individuals are quick to reply with a defensive "No! We just have a common ancestor!" But that's not a very good answer. It ignores the fact that the question is ambiguous, and that the definition of "monkey" is ambiguous. Sometimes the answer … Continue reading Are humans descended from monkeys?

Computerized chessboard displays should be better

You can't tell everything just by looking at a game position on a traditional physical chessboard. If you see: You can't necessarily tell: the board orientationwhose turn it is to movewhat castling rights existwhich pawn, if any, can be captured en passant There are also lots of other things you can't tell, such as whether … Continue reading Computerized chessboard displays should be better