Posts Tagged ‘OTR’


Sunday, August 26th, 2012


Note to self: Never give United Airlines any of my business.

Control, or lack thereof

Steve Wozniak sees trouble in the cloud (that makes two of us) and doesn’t think that the Internet should have gatekeepers or regulators.

This hacker news thread contains a quote which perfectly sums up one aspect of what I feel is wrong with SAAS: SAAS means you’re vulnerable to vendor change with every pageload.


Sociability’s value comes from privacy An essay by Kyro Beshay, via Cory Doctorow.

It is a poor grade upon humanity that sites like this need even exist.

Olympics and corporate greed

The Olympic games this year really made capitalism show its ugliest sides:

Case in point: VISA. Did they really think that hassling non-VISA-card holders would make them any new friends?

Case in point: London Olympics committee. I am not completely unreasonable, I understand that if too many people set up their own wireless hot-spots in close proximity to the “sanctioned” hot-spots, and on the same frequencies, bad things will happen, but at the same time I can’t shake the feeling that they just wanted a monopoly on providing connectivity, and forcing people to pay through the nose for it.

Good intentions and the road to hell

I understand the benefit to first responders, if we allowed for a government-controlled “emergency switch” to open up wireless routers for mesh-use in disaster areas, many people on Twitter recommended the inhabitants of Oslo to do just that after the attack, but I see the very real potential for abuse from the same government and since they get to define what is or isn’t an emergency, and when things are in people’s and society’s best interests, I give this idea a “thumbs down”-grade.

Drawing the wrong lessons from horrific events

Abuse of power

Case in point: VISA

DHS issuing take-down notices No free speech for you!


A tutorial about off-the-record messaging courtesy of monkeyiq

Albeit not being anywhere near ready for primetime, cryptosphere still looks like a really interesting project

I am unsure as to whether Burner, the service which provides temporary phone numbers, will have a net positive or negative impact on society at large (if it has any impact at all). The concept is cool, and perhaps can be useful in certain settings, while it could probably be abused in others.

And I feel much the same way about Deadman. It could probably be awesome for hiking trips and the likes, for when you really don’t want to be disturbed, but if something were to happen it would be nice if emergency services knew roughly where to look.

Schneier on Security: $200 for a Fake Security System And as one commenter said: It’s all fun and games until your cat dies of exhaustion.


The Best Programming Advice I Ever Got, a rather refreshing thought, it probably would be good to make ourselves a little less dependent on tools and have that grey matter exercise some more.

A jQuery extension called labelfor to associate labels with form input elements.

I’ve written before about this game, but I keep thinking about it and always forgetting what it’s called, so just a reminder to myself.
More than that however, is that I’ve also started taking an interest in Ren’Py the framework on which don’t take it personally, babe, it just ain’t your story is built.
I think that could be used in a plethora of ways, both for entertainment, but also education, if not both at once.

The shell

A blog post about steps to take to improve the performance of shell scripts. Really nice.


SSH forced commands pretty useful stuff.

Sorting on multiple columns

One of the previous weeks I needed to sort a bunch of lines, but I had concluded that it would be way too much work to transpose the columns in the file in a way that sort would magically work.

Which meant I needed to dig into the flags sort support. I was fairly certain that what I wanted done could be done, I just had to find the way. man sort got old real quick, so I hit duckduckgo instead and found this post which gave me everything I needed, and in a nicely formatted way :)

I can’t remember the actual data I needed sorting, but his example of sorting IP addresses was what helped me, specifically -k 2,2n -k4,4n (i.e. numeric sort by column 2 first, then by column 4)

Vim, autocmd and context-aware file headers

I don’t know when I picked it up, or from where (probably pesa’s Vim config, but for some time I’ve been using a filetype.vim file, in the root of my .vim directory, the contents of which is a bunch of lines, looking something like this:

au! BufRead,BufNewFile *.sh setfiletype sh
au! BufNewFile *.sh so ~/.vim/templates/sh_header

And this works like a charm, every new script I start writing on will get a shebang automatically inserted at the beginning of the file.

I never thought about what else one could do with these autocommands though, until I stumbled over a reddit thread, which pointed me here.

If you look into step 2, you will see that the autocmds there does not only read a header into the new file, but also modifies dates etc.

That’s actually pretty sweet.

Data mirroring

Using duplicity as a stateful rsync

Git stuff

A whole bunch of (git) ignore-files for use in various projects

And uet another git feature I feel I really need to learn ;)


As this video will tell you it is pretty darn hard to understand the scales of stuff like planets. The video does however make a pretty good attempt at visualizing it.

In the past I have linked to a post which wasn’t all that impressed with the idea of hiding the concept of files from users, and here’s another post, this one not particularly impressed with hiding the concept of directories from the users.
For my part, I consider this to be pure idiocracy

Depending on how well executed it ends up being (in my case, light weight has precedence) reditr could be enormously useful.

I have been eyeing dwb as a potential firefox replacement. We’ll see what happens.

Syntactic parses text, and try to build an “understanding” about words, and how they fit together.

The Future is not Real-Time. Put that way, I too really hope it isn’t ;)

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.


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.


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

Heybuddy has been replaced by identicurse as my micro-blogging ( 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.


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”.


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…


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.


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.


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


My software stack revisited – Communication

Sunday, December 26th, 2010

Although not a whole lot has changed in this part of the stack, I’ll go through it for completeness sake. And there is actually an addition to the stack if you look closely.


Thunderbird remains my email client of choice, augmented by the Enigmail add-on which enables support for GnuPG.

Instant messaging

Pidgin still remains my IM client, because it works well, has multi-protocol support (which is necessary, as it is hard to get all your friends to switch from MSN to Jabber), and supports OTR (the primary reason why empathy won’t exist on any of my systems any time soon).


For IRC, there is only one client, the client of the future: Irssi.


Finally, we’ve come to the addition to the stack: a microblogging client.

I tried Gwibber, and it worked ok (never had the latest and greatest as I at that time was running Ubuntu Jaunty so it might be better now) but it wasn’t perfect.

I then started having problems with the way twitter operates (more on that in a separate post later), and all of a sudden, the fact that they’d changed authentication to OAuth, which gwibber on my old Jaunty installation couldn’t interface with, didn’t much matter anymore.

That’s because twitter isn’t the only game in town. It might be the most populated service, but not the only one… so when I heard of the lightweight heybuddy client, I jumped ship and haven’t looked back since.

The next post will be about the software I have come to use to organize my life.


Battling Pidgin

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009

I like Pidgin. I like it a lot, and have done so since the days when it was named Gaim. Add plugins like Off-The-Record and hook it up to TOR,  and we have a pretty powerful communications package.

Pidgin doesn’t support audio or web cam conversations, which is a bummer, but nothing I personally need or use, so it isn’t a big deal, it just means I can’t promote it to other people who do use/need those features.

But, on to the “battle”. You see, while Pidgin is a great piece of software, it has ugly sides as well. Tonight I upgraded my Pidgin installation. I don’t upgrade Pidgin as often as I should. There is a reason for this. Until this evening I’ve lived with Pidgin 2.4.1. A customized version of 2.4.1.

Most of the time, regarding most issues, I consider the developers of Pidgin to be awesome. Their software is awesome. Most of the time…

So I don’t upgrade very often, because I customize my Pidgin, which means that I go through all the trouble of downloading the source, customize the code, and go through the build-process. What is this customization which I require so badly you wonder? What would be so hard to reconcile with, as to trigger this kind of response?

It is actually quite silly. Silly of the developers, and silly of me. I have loads of respect for them and they have posted arguments for their “improvement” but to this day, 16 months later, I still cannot see it as anything less than a usability regression.

I am of course talking about Issue #4986“closed enhancement: wontfix” a bug which yielded 325 comments, some users registering just to voice their malcontent with this “feature”, where the message input area “grows”, upwards, as you type long messages. No more manually resizeable input area.

I know this is a free software project, I know that if I don’t like it I can either fork the project or… well… “fork off”.

And rather than learning to live with that “feature”, for me it is still a usability regression, I’d rather download their source, hard code the textarea to 4 lines high, and accept that neither they, nor I, have control over the resizing of the input area. I much prefer this option to the alternative.

Silly… (you can laugh at me now) and sad, at the same time.