2012 archive

another anniversary

This time last year I noted that christmas eve was trivia’s birthday. Guess what, it’s that time of year again, and what am I again doing? Merry Christmas to all^h^h^h both my readers. Mick

Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2012/12/24/another-anniversary/

no sites are broken

Or so the wordpress post at wordpress.org would have us believe. However, I think there is flaw in both their logic, and their decision making here. I spotted the problem following an upgrade to wordpress 3.5 on a site I use. One of the plugins on that site objected to the upgrade with the following …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2012/12/19/no-sites-are-broken/

password theft

I have mentioned odd postings to bugtraq before. Today, one “gsuberland” added to the canon with a gem about the Netgear WGR614 wireless router. He says in his post that he has been “reverse engineering” this router. Now for most bugtraq posters (and readers) this would mean that he has been disassembling the firmware. But …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2012/12/14/password-theft/


Steve Bell’s If… cartoon in yesterday’s Guardian was wonderful, and wonderfully opportune in its timing given my letter to Jeff Bezos. I wanted to include a copy here so I emailed Steve this morning asking for permission. Astonishingly he replied, saying yes, only minutes after I had sent my request (clearly he wasn’t very busy…..) …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2012/12/12/horse-terity/

moonlighting in parliament

Yesterday I followed a link from Duncan Campbell’s Reg article on the joint parliamentary committee’s scrutiny of the Communications Data Bill referred to in my post below. That link took me to the UK Parliamentary website which I confess I haven’t visited in a while. I was initially irritated that the video format used on …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2012/12/11/moonlighting-in-parliament/

tor and the UK data communications bill

As a Tor node operator, I have an interest in how the draft UK Data Communications Bill would affect me should it be passed into law. In particular, I would be worried if Tor ended up being treated as a “telecommunications operator” within the terms of the Act (should it become an Act). Fortunately, Steven …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2012/12/10/tor-and-the-uk-data-communications-bill/

an open letter to Jeff Bezos

Dear Jeff You don’t know me(*), but I used to be a customer of yours. I say “used to be” because I am no more, nor shall I be again. I have today closed my Amazon account (and I must say that you do not make that process very easy). You may be aware that …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2012/12/07/an-open-letter-to-jeff-bezos/

why I read el reg

The Register today carries a story about the discovery of a truly massive black hole named “SDSS J1106+1939” at the center of a dying galaxy. That black hole is reported to be emitting energy “equivalent to two trillion times the power output of the sun.” The story itself is classic Reg material and is covered …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2012/11/29/why-i-read-el-reg/

what gives with dban?

Recently I have been faced with the need to wipe a bunch of hard disks removed from some old (indeed, in one or two cases, very old) PCs before disposal. Normally I would have used DBAN to do this because it gives me a nice warm feeling that I have taken all reasonable steps and …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2012/11/27/what-gives-with-dban/

why mysql crashed

Update to previous post According to bytemark, a bug in the bigV system caused some disk corruptions for a small number of customers. It seems that I was just one of the unlucky ones. I am assured that all is now well.

Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2012/11/22/why-mysql-crashed/

forcing innodb recovery in mysql

Today I had a nasty looking problem with my mysql installation. At first I thought I might have to drop one or more databases and re-install. Fortunately, I didn’t actually have to do that in the end. I first noticed a problem at around 15.45 today when I couldn’t collect my mail. My mail system …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2012/11/16/forcing-innodb-recovery-in-mysql/

using openvpn to bypass NAT firewalls

OpenVPN is a free, open source, general purpose VPN tool which allows users to build secure tunnels through insecure networks such as the internet. It is the ideal solution to a wide range of secure tunnelling requirements, but it is not always immediately obvious how it should be deployed in some circumstances. Recently, a correspondent …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2012/10/27/using-openvpn-to-bypass-nat-firewalls/

book theft

Back in August 2011. I wrote about my preference for real books over the emerging electronic version. In that post I noted that Amazon had famously deleted copies of Orwell’s 1984 and Animal Farm purchased by some customers. It now appears that Amazon has gone even further and deleted the entire contents of a Norwegian …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2012/10/23/book-theft/

grep -R doesn’t search amazon

Towards the end of last month, following the release of the unity lens in ubuntu which searches amazon, “akeane” posted a bug report on launchpad complaining that “grep -R doesn’t automatically search amazon”. In his first posting he said: Dear “root owning” overlords, When using grep recursively I only get local results: grep -R fish_t …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2012/10/20/grep-r-doesnt-search-amazon/

ubuntu is free and it always will be

But we may ask you for a contribution. Canonical have made another move in what is beginning to look ever more like a monetary commercialisation of ubuntu. On 9 October 2012, they added a new page to the “download” section titled “Tell us what we should do more……and put your money where your mouth is …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2012/10/14/ubuntu-is-free-and-it-always-will-be/

password lunacy

One of my fixed term savings accounts matured at the end of last week. This means that the paltry “bonus” interest rate which made the account ever so slightly more attractive than the pathetic rates generally available 12 months ago now disappears and I am left facing a rate so far below inflation that I …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2012/10/13/password-lunacy/

a positive response

Whenever my logs show evidence of unwanted behaviour I check what has happened and, if I decide there is obviously hostile activity coming from a particular address I will usually bang off an email to the abuse contact for the netblock in question. Most times I never hear a thing back though I occasionally get …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2012/10/05/a-positive-response/

iptables firewall for servers

I paid for a new VPS to run tor this week. It is cheaper, and offers a higher bandwidth allowance than my existing tor server so I may yet close that one down – particularly as I recently had trouble with the exit policy on my existing server. In setting up the new server, the …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2012/09/09/iptables-firewall-for-servers/

Neil Armstrong

I suppose it is inevitable that your heroes die as you get older. I was just finishing my O’ levels when Armstrong took his “one small step”. I can remember clearly looking up at the moon on that day in 1969 in awe that there were two human beings on that satellite at the very …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2012/08/28/neil-armstrong/

my russian fanbase

My readership in Russia appears to be growing. For some reason I seem to be getting a lot of hits from Russian domains on my posts and pages about egroupware. And my referer logs show a lot of inbound connections from domains in the .ru TLD. Those websites I have checked appear to be technical, …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2012/08/28/my-russian-fanbase/

tails has not been hacked

I run a tails mirror on one of my VMs. Earlier this week there was a flurry of anxious comment on the tails forum suggesting that the service had been “hacked”. Evidence pleaded in support of that theory included the facts that file timestamps on some of the tails files varied across mirrors, one of …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2012/08/23/tails-has-not-been-hacked/

you are at 2001:db8::ff00:42:8329.

Verity Stob is having trouble getting a new IP address. What with the IPV4 address exhaustion problem, it would seem that the only alternative is IPV6. This is causing Verity some grief. Stress brings out my unoriginal streak. I said: ‘Where am I?’ ‘You are at 2001:db8::ff00:42:8329.’ ‘What?’ ‘Your new IP address at 2001:db8::ff00:42:8329.’ He …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2012/08/21/you-are-at-2001db8ff00428329/

debian on a DNS-320

Back in 2009 I bought, on impulse, a D-Link DNS-313 thinking it was sufficiently similar to the 323 to enable me to install debian with some ease. As I noted at the time, however, I’d made a slight mistake and then had to settle for a compromise installation from a tarball rather than a full …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2012/08/21/debian-on-a-dns-320/

what every iphone needs

I stumbled across this site today when following a link from an email on the topic of reflashing an android tablet with CyanogenMod. The guy who sent the email (to the ALUG list) had bought a generic 7″ android tablet. He was considering reflashing with CM9 and was asking for advice/guidance/gotchas or whatever before doing …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2012/08/20/what-every-iphone-needs/