Category: trivial musing

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 …

Continue reading

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 …

Continue reading

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 …

Continue reading

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 …

Continue reading

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, …

Continue reading

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: 92.127.16.0 – 92.127.31.255 netname: WEBSTREAM descr: OJSC “Sibirtelecom” remarks: Kemerovo branch of the OJSC “Sibirtelecom” remarks: broadband service country: RU remarks: Direct …

Continue reading

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

comment spam irony

image of spam comment on blog

I am very careful about how, or even if, I allow comments on trivia. For example I disallow all comments on any post after a set period of time, I also refuse all comments until I have had time to read and thus moderate them. This cuts down on the type of rubbish often seen …

Continue reading

Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2020/11/15/comment-spam-irony/

braindead mail service

image of mxtoolbox page

Back in early 2019, I wrote about a problem I was having with mail from my system going to BT based accounts. At the time, BT was rejecting my mail as potential spam. As I wrote at the time, I was pleasantly surprised when the BT postmaster replied positively to my request that they investigate …

Continue reading

Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2020/10/27/braindead-mail-service/

laws are made to be broken

We here in England must now limit our social interaction to the “rule of six”. Our dear, delusional, demented, certifiable, mendacious, law breaking Prime Minister says that I cannot meet in my home with more than six people – despite the fact that I can go to the Gym, or a Supermarket, or a Pub, …

Continue reading

Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2020/09/11/laws-are-made-to-be-broken/

encrypting DNS on android

My previous two posts discussed the need for encrypted DNS and then how to do it on a linux desktop. I do not have any Microsoft systems so I have no idea how to approach the problem if you use any form of Windows OS, nor do I have any Apple devices so I can’t …

Continue reading

Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2020/06/06/encrypting-dns-on-android/

encrypting DNS with dnsmasq and stubby

In my last post I explained that in order to better protect my privacy I wanted to move all my DNS requests from the existing system of clear text requests to one of encrypted requests. My existing system forwarded DNS requests from my internal dnsmasq caching servers to one of my (four) unbound resolvers and …

Continue reading

Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2020/05/25/encrypting-dns-with-dnsmasq-and-stubby/

encrypting DNS

Any casual reader of trivia will be aware that I care about my privacy and that I go to some lengths to maintain that privacy in the face of concerted attempts by ISPs, corporations, government agencies and others to subvert it. In particular I use personally managed OpenVPN servers at various locations to tunnel my …

Continue reading

Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2020/05/06/encrypting-dns/

zooming in on china

Since my previous post below, I have been reading up on Zoom as a company, its staffing and its worrying security (or rather lack of) track record. When I wrote the initial post I said that “Zoom is a US company funded almost entirely by venture capital. Its servers are US based.”. It appears that …

Continue reading

Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2020/04/10/zooming-in-on-china/

zooming in on cabinet

On Tuesday of this week, Boris Johnson tweeted a picture of what he called the UK’s “first ever digital Cabinet”. That picture (copy below) shows that the Cabinet meeting was held using Zoom – the sort of video conferencing software which is currently popular with business users forced to work at home during the Covid19 …

Continue reading

Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2020/04/03/zooming-in-on-cabinet/

beware the zombie apocalypse

Tom Scott is a young educational entertainer who publishes fairly regularly on youtube. Back in mid 2004, whilst still a linguistics student at York, he managed to upset both the Home Office and the Cabinet Office by publishing a Department of Vague Paranoia website spoofing the rather po faced official “Preparing for Emergencies” site. Tom’s …

Continue reading

Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2020/03/11/beware-the-zombie-apocalypse/

have I been pwned?

Well, I don’t think so. But for a while I was not entirely sure. Following the move last November of trivia from a VM on UK2’s datacentre in London to our new home on a faster VM on ITLDC’s network I have been making a variety of minor changes and doing some essential housework. One …

Continue reading

Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2020/02/27/have-i-been-pwned/

TLS certificate checks

immuniweb result

My move of trivia to a new VM last December prompted me to look again at my server configuration. In particular I wanted to ensure that I was properly redirecting all HTTP requests to HTTPS and that the ciphers and protocols I support are as up to date and strong as possible. Mozilla offers a …

Continue reading

Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2020/01/22/tls-certificate-checks/

do not ask me for guest posts or links

For the past four years or so I have been receiving increasingly frequent requests for either guest posts, or links to external sites (or sometimes both). The requests have increased in number ever since I started posting about my use of OpenVPN. Many of these requests want me to point to their commercial VPN site. …

Continue reading

Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2020/01/14/do-not-ask-me-for-guest-posts-or-links/

retiring the slugs

I first started using Linksys NSLU2s (aka “slugs”) in early 2008. Back then I considered them quite useful and I even ran webservers and local apt-caches on them. But realistically they are (and even then, were) a tad underpowered. Worse, since Debian on the XScale-IXP42x hasn’t been updated for several years, the slugs are probably …

Continue reading

Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2020/01/14/retiring-the-slugs/

welcome to prague

As of today we are now fully functional in our new home in a datacentre in Prague. We also have a new letsencypt certificate. If you see any problems, let me know at the usual email address. Enjoy

Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2019/12/05/welcome-to-prague/

a bargain VPS

I have been using services from ITLDC for about three years now. I initially picked one of their cheap VMs based in the Netherlands whilst I was expanding my VPN usage, and frankly, I was not expecting much in the way of customer service or assistance for the very low price I paid. After all …

Continue reading

Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2019/11/28/a-bargain-vps/

fsckd

God help us all.

Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2019/07/23/fsckd/

more password stupidity

password generator

A recent exchange of email with an old friend gave me cause to revisit on-line password/passphrase generators. I cannot for the life of me imagine why anyone would actually use such a thing, but there are a surprisingly large number out there. On the upside, most of these now seem to use TLS encrypted connections …

Continue reading

Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2019/07/15/more-password-stupidity/

add my name to the list

At the tail end of last year, Crispin Robinson and Ian Levy of GCHQ published a co-authored essay on “suggested” ways around the “going dark problem” that strong encryption in messaging poses Agencies such as GCHQ and its (foreign) National equivalents. In that essay, the authors were at pains to state that they were not …

Continue reading

Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2019/07/10/add-my-name-to-the-list/