Author's posts


I can’t recall how I got there, but this made me laugh enough to want to share it.

Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2010/02/26/homeopathy/

isp shenanigans

speedtest image

I have recently been off-line. And I am less than happy about the reasons. My ISP recently informed me that it was changing it’s back end provider from Entanet to Vispa. Like many small ISPs, my provider does not have any real infrastructure of its own, it simply repackages services provided by a wholesaler who …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2010/02/20/isp-shenanigans/

life is too short to use horde

image of postfixadmin page

I own a bunch of different domains and run a mail service on all of them. In the past I have used a variety of different ways of providing mail, from simple pop/imap using dovecot and postfix, through to using the database driven mail service in egroupware. Recently I have consolidated mail for several of …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2010/01/23/life-is-too-short-to-use-horde/

tor server compromise

According to this post by Roger Dingledine, two tor directory servers were compromised recently. In that post Dingledine said: In early January we discovered that two of the seven directory authorities were compromised (moria1 and gabelmoo), along with metrics.torproject.org, a new server we’d recently set up to serve metrics data and graphs. The three servers …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2010/01/22/tor-server-compromise/

are you /really/ sure you want that mobile phone

The launch of the google nexus one “iPhone killer” reminds me just how prescient Dr Fun’s cartoon of 16 January 2006 (see third cartoon down from the top on the right) really was. I just love the way the google employee in the video says at the end that Verizon and Vodafone have “agreed to …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2010/01/10/are-you-really-sure-you-want-that-mobile-phone/

using scroogle

For completeness, my post below should have pointed to the scroogle search engine which purportedly allows you to search google without google being able to profile you. Neat idea if you must use google (why?) but it still fails the Hal Roberts test of what to do if the intermediate search engine is prepared to …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2010/01/02/using-scroogle/


One of the more annoying aspects of the web follows directly from one of its strengths. The web is actually designed to make it easy for authors to cross refer to the work of others – hyperlinking is intended to make linking between documents anywhere in web space seamless and transparent. Unfortunately, this cross linking …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2010/01/02/scroogled/


Well I finally cracked and ordered an N900 on-line just before Christmas. Nokia had been promising since about August of this year that the device “might” ship in the UK around October. Since then, the release date has slipped, and slipped, and slipped (much to the amusement of an iPhone using friend of mine who …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2009/12/30/shiny/

comment spam

I block comment spam aimed at this blog, and I insist that commenters leave some form of identification before I will allow a comment to be posted. Further, I use a captcha mechanism to keep the volume of spam down. Nevertheless, like most blogs, trivia attracts its fair share of attempted viagra ads, porn links …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2009/12/12/comment-spam/

colossally boneheaded

David Adams over at OS News has posted an interesting commentary on Eric Schmidt’s recent outburst. Referring to Schmidt’s statement which I commented on below, Adams says: I think the portion of that statement that’s sparked the most outrage is the “If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2009/12/12/colossally-boneheaded/

privacy is just for criminals

I’ve mentioned before that I value my privacy. I use tor, coupled with a range of other necessary but tedious approaches (such as refusing cookies, blocking ad servers, scrubbing my browser) to provide me with the degree of anonymity I consider my right in an increasingly public world. It is nobody’s business but mine if …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2009/12/07/privacy-is-just-for-criminals/

apple antipathy may be misplaced

Apparently the lastest release of the iPhone OS (v 3.1) has caused a few minor problems with WiFi and battery life. This has led El Reg to moan about the fact that you can’t downgrade the iPhone OS to an earlier version. I’m no great fan of Apple, but to be fair, this situation is …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2009/11/29/apple-antipathy-may-be-misplaced/

system monitoring with munin

A while back a friend and colleague of mine introduced me to the server monitoring tool called munin which he had installed on one of the servers he maintains. It looked interesting enough for me to stick it on my “to do” list for my VPSs. Having a bunch of relevant stats presented in graphical …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2009/11/15/system-monitoring-with-munin/

OSS shouldn’t frighten the horses

Since I first read that Nokia were adding much needed telephony capability to their N8x0 range of internet tablets I have been watching the development of the new Nokia N900 with much interest. It looks to be potentially the sort of device I would buy. Despite all the hype around the iPhone, I really dislike …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2009/11/11/oss-shouldnt-frighten-the-horses/

a free (google) service is worth exactly what you pay for it

I note from a recent register posting that that some gmail users are objecting to the fact that google’s mail service has failed yet again. El Reg even quotes one disgruntled user as saying: “More than 30 hours without email…totally unacceptable. I’ll definitely have to reconsider my selection of gmail for my primary email account. …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2009/11/01/a-free-service-is-worth-exactly-what-you-pay-for-it/

call me by name, or call me by value

The old saw about “real” programmers versus the rest (known as “quiche eaters”) was originally summarised beautifully in the classic letter to the editor of Datamation in July 1983 entitled “real programmers don’t use pascal”. Similar religious (i.e. irrational, but deeply held) positions are taken around various other “lifestyle” choices, such as the equally classic …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2009/10/29/call-me-by-name-or-call-me-by-value/


It would appear that I may have been unnecessarily concerned about the accuracy of the profiling data held on me by the commercial sites I use. In my inbox today I found the following email from Amazon: “As a valued Amazon.co.uk customer, we thought you might be interested in visiting our website dedicated to shoes …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2009/10/28/handbags/

logrotate weirdness in debian etch

I have two VPSs, both running debian. One runs lenny, the other runs etch. The older etch install runs fine, and is much as the supplier delivered it. Until now I have not had cause to consider the need to upgrade the etch install to lenny because it “just worked”. But today I noticed for …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2009/10/18/logrotate-weirdness-in-debian-etch/

where has my money gone

Like most ‘net users I know these days, I conduct most of my financial transactions on-line. But on-line banking is a high risk activity, particularly if you use the “default” OS and browser combination to be found on most PCs. I don’t, but that doesn’t make me invulnerable, just a slightly harder target. So attempts …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2009/10/15/on-line-banking-security/

debian on a DNS-313

I bought another new toy last week – a D-Link DNS 313 NAS. Actually, this was a mistake because what I really wanted was the DNS-323. I just wasn’t careful enough at the time. Quite apart from having space for two 3.5″ SATA hard drives instead of just one, the 323 is a very different …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2009/10/03/debian-on-a-dns-313/

debonaras demise?

Sadly it seems that the debonaras wiki is no more. Rod Whitby had done some excellent work in pulling together a site which consolidated useful information about low cost network storage devices (alternatives to the slug) which could be made to run Debian. Unfortunately the site was a continual target for wiki spam bots and …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2009/10/03/292/

abigail’s party

In today’s Guardian, Charlie Brooker ranted rather eloquently about how much he hated smug Apple fans. Or did he? Actually he made full on broadside swipes at both Apple and Microsoft’s approach to product marketing. One side is too slick and irritating, the other is way too uncool and irritating. But most of his ranting …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2009/09/28/abigails-party/

wordpress security

At about the time I decided to move trivia to my own VPS, there was a lot of fuss about a new worm which was reportedly exploiting a vulnerability in all versions <= 2.8.3. Even the Grauniad carried some (rather inaccurate) breathless reporting about how the wordpress world was about to end and maybe we …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2009/09/20/wordpress-security/

wordpress on lighttpd

I have commented in the past how I prefer lighttpd to apache, particularly on low powered machines such as the slug. I used to be a big apache fan, in fact I think I first used it at version 1.3.0 or maybe 1.3.1, having migrated from NCSA 1.5.1 (and before that Cern 3.0) back in …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2009/09/12/wordpress-on-lighttpd/