2013-02-13 09:25 pm
Entry tags:

Why unauthenticated software download is dangerous and unethical.

(The canonical location of this blog post is now Why unauthenticated software download is dangerous and unethical on my web site.)

Have you ever done svn checkout http://include-what-you-use.googlecode.com/svn/trunk/ include-what-you-use?

How about download; ./configure; make; make install when the connection is HTTP and you haven't checked your download against a cryptographic hash (e.g. SHA256) or public key (e.g. PGP) provided via an authenticated channel (e.g. HTTPS)? [1]

Have you ever done these while using coffee shop or train or cellular Internet without a VPN? Or even on home WiFi in a crowded area? [2]

It's not just you whose security is at risk by these deeds.
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2013-01-28 12:11 am

Enigmail & format=flowed

(The canonical location of this blog post is now Enigmail & format=flowed on my web site.)

I decided it was time to restore my ability to sign/encrypt e-mail.

  • OpenPGP is a common cryptographic standard used for e-mail.

  • GPG is the FOSS implementation of this standard.

  • Thunderbird is the desktop email client I use.

  • Enigmail is the Thunderbird plugin for using GPG in Thunderbird.

  • Read more... )
2012-11-29 10:18 pm
Entry tags:

More X11 discoveries

I'm still trying to treat my old laptop as a secondary display, for more screen real-estate.

Main laptop: Linux
Old laptop: OS X, currently

Miscellaneous discoveries:

  • There are a few proxy X server implementations that allow switching a X client program between actual X servers! (Albeit by command line not click-and-drag.) Xmove is still being shipped in distros, though the code is old enough that it allegedly doesn't support 24-bit color.

    Xpra seems to be a modern variant with efficient network protocols and binaries for all major platforms. Unfortunately, (A) xpra has to run on both sides of a remote xpra connection; (B) my secondary display is running OS X; and (C) the Xpra OS X binary only supports[1] client mode in xpra–xpra connections (we need server mode there). Almost useful!

  • There is at least one program that can deal with multiple X displays: Emacs. I think it might be helpful to put my org-mode notes on my secondary screen, so that's cool.

  • Read more... )
2012-11-29 01:21 am
Entry tags:

Xdmx is (rather) broken.


Xdmx is an X11 tool that lets you treat two or more* X11 servers as two or more monitors. I tried to use it to make an old laptop be an external monitor (connecting over Ethernet). The old laptop would run an X server, and Xdmx would connect to that X server and to the one on my regular laptop. Then X11 applications would connect to Xdmx (which itself provides an X-server API), and I could move them between screens at will. Theoretically.
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2012-11-07 07:48 pm

Data wisdom

(The canonical location of this blog post is now Data-sharing Wisdom on my web site.)

I love Hubway and data, but was it really a good idea to release everyone's trip data? This is past, somewhat-anonymized data, for a contest to visualize how people are using the bike-sharing system. I can history-stalk everyone in Southborough who has a Hubway membership now :-(
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2012-07-27 08:31 pm
Entry tags:


(The canonical location of this blog post is now Time Measurement on my web site.)

Much software is based on the assumption that, given the moment X bajillion seconds from now, you will know how many times the earth will have turned since now, how many times the earth will have gone around the sun, and what date it will be.

Unfortunately, these assumptions are false.

Indeed, our very calendar is based on the assumption that the earth goes around the sun once for every 365.2425[1] days[2].
Read more... )