Monday, April 12, 1999

About the Author:

Internet e-zine guru Todd Kuipers

Todd Kuipers is a software designer/Internet consultant, living and breathing, with his wife Susanna, in Calgary, Alberta. He is resident at Merak Projects currently working on Web based implementations of their petroleum softwareand their Web site. He spends his spare time reading, writing, reading and writing about beer, tasting beer, reviewing anything that he comes across and providing pure research skills to paying customers. Current and past things Todd and Internet can be seen at

One time proprietor of the currently defunct "E-mail-zines list", a listing of e-zines available via e-mail, Todd kept his interest in "low-bandwidth active delivery content" and currently subscribes to (and generally reads) 80+ e-mail publications on a wide variety of topics.


Full-column and topic INDEX

So this week I'm going through my back-pack that I haven't used in 2 months and discover the birthday present I had ready for one of my best friend's oldest son. A Tintin comic, an Asterix comic and an Asterix 5 in 1 collection that I've been meaning to send off (and very obviously haven't...). Why can't I e-mail them? I should be able to e-mail them dammit. Oh well, one day, I'll be able to purchase such classics on-line and have them delivered electronically directly to whomever.

Anyway, this week I'm going to do my first escalated review - the first full review I've done on a previous short take. Take a look at the original short take on >Crypto-Gram, and compare with this new one and let me know if it looks more compelling now than before. Just to be safe, I'm not going to re-read the old one until I'm done this one...

Honestly what I'm asking is whether I'm too verbose in my reviews. Lemme know!

And as a last note, I've added a new bit of information in the review that lists the expect issue size, based on an excellent recommendation from Jonas S. Madsen. Thanks!

Review: Crypto-Gram

Quick Rating:
Overall - 5
Content - 5
Writing - 5
Regularity - 5
Extras - 5

E-zine Description: From the site:

CRYPTO-GRAM is a free monthly newsletter providing summaries, analyses, insights, and commentaries on cryptography and computer security.
CRYPTO-GRAM is written by Bruce Schneier. Schneier is president of Counterpane Systems, the author of "Applied Cryptography," and an inventor of the Blowfish, Twofish, and Yarrow algorithms. He served on the board of the International Association for Cryptologic Research, EPIC, and VTW. He is a frequent writer and lecturer on cryptography.

Frequency of Publication: monthly

Subscription Instructions:
Visit or
send a blank e-mail to:

WWW location:

Contact Information:

by Bruce Schneier, President, Counterpane Systems

Cost: very free

Estimated Issue Size: 15K


Content - 5
Crypto-Gram discusses and reviews developments and issues surrounding cryptography and computer security (like it says above). Each monthly issue has excellent articles, generally geared to the cryptography professional or enthusiast, but still readable and informative to those of us (read "me") that only dabble or hear muffled conversations about this stuff. Security holes are noted and processes are discussed making for a very useful read.

An example of a recent article includes "Snake Oil" (my favorite so far) that covers various "new" encryption technologies and shows why you should be skeptical of them. The quote "Long noun chains don't automatically imply security," (i.e. verbosity doesn't mean you're right) is especially important.

Other articles have covered everything from Microsoft screw-ups, FBI encryption thoughts, Human Rights and book reviews.

Writing Quality/Style - 5
Very well written. Either Bruce Schneier is an excellent writer and scenrario sketcher or he has a great editor. I've never stumbled on the text in these newsletters.

Regularity - 5
Monthly. Every month, in the middle of the month. Pretty darn good track record.

Extras - 5
Each issue is well laid out, well documented (un/subscription, contact, copyright info) and has a link back to a well-laid out site with archives and additional information and free stuff to boot.

Overall - 5
I've now been reading Crypto-Gram for 9 months now based on a referral from a friend. In each I've always found out about something I didn't know about, discovered a technology I didn't know existed, read some very interesting political commentary, and actually learned something in the process. If the topic interests you, I'd say take a chance. Once a month is easy to take.

E-zine Title: Discworld Monthly

E-zine Description: Discworld Monthly is the free monthly on-line newsletter about Terry Pratchett and his works.

I've never read any of Terry Pratchett's novels, including the Discworld ones. I only have a vague idea what they're about, but found the interest in them to be staggering, so I figured a short take on the newsletter would be appropriate. This monthly newsletter is up to 24 issues and has loads of information.

Frequency of Publication: monthly

Subscription Instructions: visit:

WWW location:

Contact Information:
Fax: 0118-977-2158
Post: J Anthony (DWM), 86 Bruce Road, Woodley, Berkshire, RG5 3DZ

Cost: free

Estimated Issue Size: 20K

Previous Issues

Text © Todd Kuipers, 1998, 1999. Part of the original Sideroad.
The new Sideroad is now receiving traffic at