Archive for the ‘Personal’ Category

2012w16

Sunday, April 22nd, 2012

I ought to dedicate this blog post to git and rsync: The hard drive on my netbook died this week. I haven’t attempted to recover anything from the disk yet, but of that which is most important I figure I haven’t lost anything at all. And that’s due in no small part to git and rsync.

All of my configuration files, at least those I care about, had been added to a git repository. And most of the binaries I wanted to preserve had been rsynced to my server.
Not all of it though, which is a shame, but it shouldn’t be hard to replace what I’ve lost. Especially if I can get the old hard drive to function just one more time, just long enough to at least make a list of what it is I’m missing. The rest of the disk, well, it’s spring, perhaps a spring cleaning was in order.

So all is not lost, and looking beyond this setback, I did learn some other things this week (except for the fact that I need to become better at performing backups) such as:

Also, quite some time ago, I went around thinking about how to automatically track my working time, and while this isn’t exactly like what I had in mind (I would probably just have created a daemon which somehow fetched the window title of the currently active window from X, and did so randomly 6 times per hour (not deterministically enough to be able to cheat the system).

And some assorted links which may or may not be of any particular use for anyone:

:wq

netbook harddrive…

Tuesday, April 17th, 2012

… went to bit heaven tonight, expect disturbances in posting schedule :(

:wq

i<3fs

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

Patrik <3 FS == true

I don’t suppose this comes as a great surprise to anyone who’ve spent more than 20 minutes with me, and while I do believe that I am pretty good at spreading the love to the various new projects I find and make good use of, I know I can also be pretty harsh about dropping programs which no longer suits my needs (be it because my needs changed, or some feature I didn’t like got into the latest version).

This doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate the efforts of all those who contributed to the software in the first place. Without it my life would not have been as simple as these programs have made it.

So while I’ve dumped nano for gedit, and gedit for kate, and kate for emacs, and emacs for gVim, and gVim for vim, I am still fond of all those projects. Without them I wouldn’t be where I am today.

So thank you all, everyone who has contributed with your time, or money, or ideas and all the other stuff I can’t think of right now. Know that you have positively impacted at least one persons life, and for that I am truly greatful.

So thank you. All of you.

I love you guys and gals

2011w52

Sunday, January 1st, 2012

Merry belated christmas greetings everyone! And by the time this post is published I could extend it with Happy belated new years greetings as well ;)

vim + html5 syntax

I’ve been tinkering a lot with html5 during my vacation and vim just didn’t want to play nicely with the new html-tags.

Namely, as it wouldn’t recognise the new semantic structural tags (footer, header, article, section, nav, aside) it wouldn’t indent the source properly and it was a cause for both distraction, and the resulting frustration.

I was not the first to feel this frustration, and a quick search turned up this result which solved both the html and css syntax issues (check the comments for the css solution). Very elegant solution, and now I’ve also learned about vim’s .vim/after/ directory… That was pretty cool.

Learning html5

I’ve actually shied away from doing stuff with html5, as whenever I tried to wrap my head around the new tags and how they should be used, there were just a myriad of different sites interpreting the usage in subtle but differing ways, but I finally found a resource which makes sense to me, so until a definitive interpretation has been hammered out, that’s the one I’m going to stick with.

Also, for sticky footers using css, and html5, check out this page. I had no trouble getting that to work.

Links

This question pretty much sums up why I like the command line so much

This looks interesting for synching (and deleting) without having to worry about doing “the right thing”

Nice list of things one could do with a home server

Doing it for teh lulz, 1903 style

EA, Nintendo and Sony now only covertly support SOPA (through their membership in various interest organizations). Wanting to eat the cake and still have it huh?

Tom’s Hardware not being amused by SOPA

Oh how I so hope that Wikipedia, Google, et al, will go down this path. (I do think there is a difference between companies lobbying, writing laws, and pressuring governments, and companies urging people to put pressure on governments, so yes, I think this is ok)

An interesting theory about why cinemas are having such a rough time

Haven’t had a chance to try this, but creating art using a written grammar does sound pretty neat, especially if you could get a script and /dev/random involved as well ;)

German police tracking people via silent SMS. I am beginning to think that rms is correct in his cellphone “usage”

Too much reading and constant information overload makes us pretty little passive consumers

My Software Stack 2011 edition

Saturday, December 31st, 2011

I realize that I haven’t written my customary “software stack” post for this year yet. But hey, from where I’m sitting, I still have … 36 minutes to spare ;)

I’ll be using the same categories as last year; system, communications, web, development, office suite, server, organization, and entertainment.

System

The OS of choice is still Archlinux, my window manager is still wmii, my terminal emulator is rxvt-unicode, upgraded by also installing urxvt-tabbedex.

My shell is still bash, my cron daemon is still fcron, and my network manager is wicd.

To this configuration I’ve added the terminal multiplexer tmux, and have lately found out just how useful mc can be. Oh, and qmv from the renameutils package is now a given part of the stack.

Communications

Not much change here, Thunderbird for email, Pidgin for instant messaging, irssi for IRC.

Heybuddy has been replaced by identicurse as my micro-blogging (identi.ca) client. Heybuddy is very nice, but I can use identicurse from the commandline, and it has vim-like bindings.

For Pidgin I use OTR to encrypt conversations. For Thunderbird I use the enigmail addon along with GnuPG.

This means that Thunderbird still hasn’t been replaced by the “mutt-stack” (mutt, msmtp, offlineimap and mairix) and this is mostly due to me not having the energy to learn how to configure mutt.

I also considered trying to replace Pidgin with irssi and bitlbee but Pidgin + OTR works so well, and I have no idea about how well OTR works with bitlbee/irssi (well, actually, I’ve found irssi + OTR to be flaky at best.

Web

Not much changed here either, Firefox dominates, and I haven’t looked further into uzbl although that is still on the TODO list, for some day.

I do some times also use w3m, elinks, wget, curl and perl-libwww.

My Firefox is customized with NoScript, RequestPolicy, some other stuff, and Pentadactyl.

Privoxy is nowadays also part of the loadout, to filter out ads and other undesirable web “resources”.

Development

In this category there has actually been some changes:

  • gvim has been completely dropped
  • eclipse has been dropped, using vim instead
  • mercurial has been replaced by git

Thanks in no small part to my job, I have gotten more intimate knowledge of awk and expect, as well as beginning to learn Perl.

I still do some Python hacking, a whole lot of shell scripting, and for many of these hacks, SQLite is a faithful companion.

Doh! I completely forgot that I’ve been dabbling around with Erlang as well, and that mscgen has been immensely helpful in helping me visualize communication paths between various modules.

“Office suite”

I still use LaTeX for PDF creation (sorry hook, still haven’t gotten around to checking out ConTeXt), I haven’t really used sc at all, it was just too hard to learn the controls, and I had too few spreadsheets in need of creating. I use qalculate almost on a weekly basis, but for shell scripts I’ve started using bc instead.

A potential replacement for sc could be teapot, but again, I usually don’t create spreadsheets…

Server

Since I’ve dropped mercurial, and since the mercurial-server package suddenly stopped working after a system update, I couldn’t be bothered to fix it, and it is now dropped.

screen and irssi is of course always a winning combination.

nginx and uwsgi has not been used to any extent, I haven’t tried setting up a VPN service, but I have a couple of ideas for the coming year (mumble, some VPN service, some nginx + Python/Perl thingies, bitlbee) and maybe replace the Ubuntu installation with Debian.

Organization

I still use both vimwiki and vim outliner, and my Important Dates Notifier script.

Still no TaskJuggler, and I haven’t gotten much use out of abook.

remind has completely replaced when, while I haven’t gotten any use what so ever out of wyrd.

Entertainment

For consuming stuff I use evince (PDF), mplayer (video), while for music, moc has had to step down from the throne, to leave place for mpd and ncmpcpp.

eog along with gthumb (replacing geeqie) handles viewing images.

For manipulation/creation needs I use LaTeX, or possibly Scribus, ffmpeg, audacity, imagemagick, inkscape, and gimp.

Bonus: Security

I thought I’d add another category, security, since I finally have something worthwhile to report here.

I’ve begun encrypting selected parts of my hard drive (mostly my email directory) using EncFS, and I use my passtore script for password management.

And sometimes (this was mostly relevant for when debugging passtore after having begun actively using it) when I have a sensitive file which I for a session need to store on the hard drive, in clear text, I use quixand to create an encrypted directory with a session key only stored in RAM. So once the session has ended, there is little chance of retrieving the key and decrypting the encrypted directory.

Ending notes

That’s about it. Some new stuff, mostly old stuff, only a few things getting kicked off the list. My stack is pretty stable for now. I wonder what cool stuff I will find in 2012 :D

:wq

FSCONS 2011

Monday, November 14th, 2011

FSCONS 2011 is now over, but fear not, FSCONS 2012 is only about a year away.

All of the participants; volunteers, speakers and visitors alike, whom I’ve had the pleasure of speaking with had only good things to say.

The overall feeling is that this was the best FSCONS yet. I am inclined to agree—but of course I am biased—due to the very low amount of incidents at all.

There were some, which is to be expected, but nothing really major, and nothing showstopping.

There were some close calls, but—and this is one of the many GREAT things about FSCONS: the visitors—in most of the close calls, visitors stepped up, graciously lending their own equipment and thereby saving the day.

And this is what I love about FSCONS. Everyone participating, no matter who they are, what they do, all bring their very best.

That, and getting to meet people I’ve only otherwise known through emails. :)

Finally, rest assured that I have a list of all the small things I observed to be in need of improvement.

2011w45

Saturday, November 12th, 2011

FSCONS

That is all for this week. See you all there :)

2011w38

Sunday, September 25th, 2011

Wow, this week sure shot by in a blur. This, the second week at work (I can’t call it the third, I was only present one day in the “first” week), has been filled with more learning, getting down and dirty with the hardware (i.e. replacing some boards) and generally playing around inside the node.

The highlight of the week must have been when I was fiddling around learning commands on the node, and managed to find what Pontus described as a “not entirely insignificant bug”. Pontus then spent a couple of hours tracing the hell out it, with me observing from the side. All in all a pretty productive day :D

Links

This week has also seen a rather troubling report (part 1, part 2) about Microsoft maybe being able to abuse UEFI secure booting in order to disallow booting something from a competitor, say a GNU+Linux system. While they have responded in a post of their own, which includes innocent-looking sentences like this:

OEMs have the ability to customize their firmware to meet the needs of their customers by customizing the level of certificate and policy management on their platform.

This however, does not fill me with any warm and cuddly feelings. This just attempts to give Microsoft an alibi, so that they can say “hey, we aren’t doing anything, blame the OEMs.”

At the same time Microsoft could, since they have a great big part of the desktop market, tell OEMs something along the lines of: “If you bundle other UEFI keys than ours, we might not want you as an OEM partner.”

Of course I can only speculate, but from previous observations I wouldn’t put it past Microsoft to do something like this. From a business perspective it makes perfect sense, and if that means that Patrik in Göteborg can’t boot his computer, well, you have to break a couple of eggs if you want to make an omelette right? Shit happens, right?

But hey Microsoft, please prove me wrong, the ball is yours.

Update: My poor motherboard seems to have gone to that very tiny electron in the sky :(

I guess it is time to start looking at buying new components…

:wq

2011w36 — 2011w37

Monday, September 19th, 2011

The regular readers might have noticed that there weren’t any weekly summaries the last two weeks, and the reason for this was a series of rather fortunate events which conspired to leave me with very little time or energy to compose a summary in.

Very shortly summarized, I have gotten a job at a pretty cool consulting company, and Wednesday (7th, week before last) was my first day at my assignment, quickly followed by an introduction day at my company, and a long weekend (Friday–Monday) conference trip to Barcelona.

So, a great big thank you to CoyPu, pesa, hesa, jonaso and razor for all your help in both acquiring the job, and keeping my spirits up. I really appreciate it.

There really isn’t much more to say, the previous week was filled with reading GPRS documentation and figuring out how an SGSN fits into it all, and I kindof suspect that the coming weeks will be equally devoid of cool stuff I’ve found, while I get myself settled at work.

hook’s suggestion to check out ConTeXt has begun rooting itself as I feel myself more and more drawn to exploring it. And I also believe the time have come for me to learn the LaTeX Beamer class in ernest.

To that end I have actually located what looks to be a rather good resource.

I have also begun seriously considering starting encrypting (parts of) my home partition, and have started looking at EncFS for that purpose.

pesa had some good ideas for how to integrate this into an auto-starting process. I’ll have to experiment a bit with that.

Finally, another tip from pesa was to replace ~/.Xdefaults with ~/.Xresources and in .xinitrc execute xrdb -m ~/.Xresources

:wq

2011w35

Sunday, September 4th, 2011

I guess the first big thing to happen this week, which I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention it, is that I got a job :D

passtore

This Tuesday I also awoke with the idea that I really should, somehow make it easy for a user to sign the configuration file of passtore. And of course to check said signature as well.

What I want to achieve with that is to engineer out the flaw in security which would appear if an aggressor got hands on the system and added his/her own key id to the list of recipients in the configuration file.

I’ll have to think about that some more.

chattr +i

I don’t particularly like flash. Sadly a great big chunk of the Internet becomes useless without it, and although I should take a firmer stand against flash I have the flashplugin for Firefox installed. One of the really nasty things about flash is those persistent super-cookies which can be set, and quite frankly, Firefox has become a bit heavy lately, so I have been looking around for ways to cut back on add-ons.

I am currently trying out Privoxy as a standalone ad-blocker, and today I got the idea of trying to replace the “Better Privacy” add-on with some file-system hacking instead. In short “Better Privacy” works by trying to detect when a flash super-cookie has been set, and remove it.

This cookie is stored in a file, locally on the file-system. So I did a little thinking. In my home directory there are two hidden directories: .adobe and .macromedia, both containing a directory named Flash_player. Inside one of those (I guess it depends on the version of flashplayer which directory is the relevant one) flash stores these cookies.

So my first idea was simply to delete those two directories. Which of course is silly. The relevant one will just be recreated, at the latest upon the next Firefox restart. So that wouldn’t work.

I could of course instruct fsniper or incron to watch those two directories and have them pounce any newly created content within with an rm -rf command, and although that would work, I don’t particularly like scripted events which includes an rm command. Also I’d have to divert some system resources to that (yes, there are plenty of resources to go around, that’s beside the point) activity, and that wasn’t to my liking either.

Finally it dawned on me. If I removed the directories, they would just respawn, so I’d need to keep them there as placeholders, and make them non-writeable, and really immutable. That way, any time flash would try to get cute, it would hit a brick wall.

So what I ended up doing was:

  1. Purge any and all contents inside .adobe/ and .macromedia/
  2. chmod 0500 ./{.adobe,.macromedia}
  3. sudo chattr +i ./{.adobe,.macromedia}

So now the owner (me) can only read/list the contents of the directories (not modify them) and with chattr +i they are immutable, requiring root privileges to change those permissions.

Your move flash…

Links

Schneier on Security: The Efficacy of Post-9/11 Counterterrorism

MITnews: Killing a cancer cell from the inside out — although I’d worry about mutation, or weaponisation…