Internet & Related Stuff

For Internet and Related Stuff.

BlakJak.net has been dark yesterday and most of today in protest of the U.S. Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and PROTECT-IP Act (PIPA). The U.S. Congress is about to censor the Internet, even though the vast majority of Americans are opposed, and a significant amount of the Internet sits outside of US Jurisdiction. I've darkened my website in support of those attempting to kill off attempts to pass laws that breach our our global rights to free speech, privacy, and prosperity. Learn more at AmericanCensorship.org (for the American Viewpoint) or for a New Zealand take on things, check out Vikram Kumar's Blog and recent guest post to the National Business Review (Similar content, but with some very interesting responses). Vikram is Chief Executive of InternetNZ, the non-profit organisation dedicated to protecting and promoting the Internet in New Zealand. Among other things he notes that domain names within .com/net/org - like my one - would also be forfeit.

There's plenty of good media out there explaining why SOPA and it's ilk are BAD.
I'll link you these:


(November 2011)
and

(Yesterday).

One hopes that the amount of mainstream attention this is getting, will cause lawmakers to wake up.
In a wider sense it's disturbing how often 'blackout' responses are becoming relevant. Almost like lawmakers don't like to listen to their electorate, or to experts, when suggesting law changes. Sigh.

A headusp that due to what I can only describe as a clerical error, the virtual machine that hosted linux.net.nz has been deleted in the last few days.

I've temporarily set up a Listserv on the NZOSS infrastructure (which I host) to keep folks in the loop. All the people whos email addresses I had in my inbox associated with NZLUG and Auckland LUG have been subscribed. Others are welcome. Details are here. I will update this page as I hear further.

Update: Dylan Reeve, who owns/co-ran the linux.net.nz hosting server, has explained what went on in a blog post of his own. :( Until Nic returns from his holiday we're not sure where the various LUG's stands, except that Nic does think he has backups of all important data (notably the list membership database and mail archive for the list) as of a few months ago. So the data loss may not be huge in that front.

Can't speak for the website however....

More as I hear.

After having to challenge yet another unsolicited connection attempt on LinkedIn today I was inspired to throw some words into Google and see if anyone else had published anything regarding LinkedIn Connections.

I came across the following interesting reads:

I installed OpenShot yesterday and published my first Youtube vid edited with it: And i've embedded it here just coz it involves cats, and we all love cats... right?

Later on I observed that VLC was no longer installed on my machine.
I also observed I had some videos that wouldn't play anymore (in totem) due to missing Codecs.

I was prompted to check my apt/history.log file after someone on Facebook doubted the correlation... I suppose I should stop openly blaming things without checking... so glad I looked:

Here's an extract:

Start-Date: 2011-12-27 19:36:05
Commandline: apt-get install openshot
Install: melt:amd64 (0.5.6+git20100727-1, automatic), libavformat-extra-52:amd64 (0.6-2ubuntu3.2, automatic), openshot:amd64 (1.2.2-1), libatlas3gf-base:amd64 (3.8.3-22ubuntu2, automatic), libmlt++3:amd64 (0.5.6+git20100727-1, automatic), libsox-fmt-base:amd64 (14.3.1-1build1, automatic), libquicktime1:amd64 (1.1.5-1, automatic), python-mlt2:amd64 (0.5.6+git20100727-1, automatic), libsox-fmt-alsa:amd64 (14.3.1-1build1, automatic), libavutil-extra-50:amd64 (0.6-2ubuntu3.2, automatic), libcvaux2.1:amd64 (2.1.0-2, automatic), libavdevice52:amd64 (0.6-2ubuntu6.2, automatic), libpostproc-extra-51:amd64 (0.6-2ubuntu3.2, automatic), libmp3lame0:amd64 (3.98.4-0ubuntu1, automatic), openshot-doc:amd64 (1.2.2-1, automatic), libhighgui2.1:amd64 (2.1.0-2, automatic), libswscale-extra-0:amd64 (0.6-2ubuntu3.2, automatic), libgavl1:amd64 (1.1.2-3, automatic), frei0r-plugins:amd64 (1.1.22git20091109-1.1, automatic), libqt4-svg:amd64 (4.7.0-0ubuntu4.4, automatic), libcv2.1:amd64 (2.1.0-2, automatic), libxvidcore4:amd64 (1.2.2+debian-1ubuntu2, automatic), libgfortran3:amd64 (4.5.1-7ubuntu2, automatic), librtmp0:amd64 (2.3-2, automatic), libsox1b:amd64 (14.3.1-1build1, automatic), libmlt-data:amd64 (0.5.6+git20100727-1, automatic), libopenjpeg2:amd64 (1.3+dfsg-4, automatic), libmlt2:amd64 (0.5.6+git20100727-1, automatic), libavcodec-extra-52:amd64 (0.6-2ubuntu3.2, automatic)

Remove: libswscale0:amd64 (0.6.2-1ubuntu1~ppa1~lucid1), libavutil50:amd64 (0.6.2-1ubuntu1~ppa1~lucid1), libavcodec52:amd64 (0.6.2-1ubuntu1~ppa1~lucid1), gstreamer0.10-ffmpeg:amd64 (0.10.11-1), vlc-nox:amd64 (1.1.4-1ubuntu1.7), vlc-plugin-notify:amd64 (1.1.4-1ubuntu1.7), libpostproc51:amd64 (0.6.2-1ubuntu1~ppa1~lucid1), libavformat52:amd64 (0.6.2-1ubuntu1~ppa1~lucid1), vlc:amd64 (1.1.4-1ubuntu1.7), vlc-plugin-pulse:amd64 (1.1.4-1ubuntu1.7)
End-Date: 2011-12-27 19:38:00

plenty of vlc packages removed as a result of installing OpenShot... and a swag of codecs...
reinstalled vlc and let totem go codec hunting, at least I have a list of what's missing now should I need it... I should've paid more attention to what it was up to I think!

... I have found that over time i've developed the habit of using Ctrl-W to close Windows.
I suppose this replaced the old Ctrl-F4 habit I used to have when I realised that Ctrl-F4 was very much a Windows-Only thing and that Ctrl-W was more widely supported (in particular, in Firefox, regardless of OS.)

Today after closing Firefox inadvertantly (by hitting Ctrl-Q, instead of Ctrl-W, by accident, and not for the first time!) I threw a frustrated search into Google, pondering whether Ctrl-Q could be disabled.

What do you know.... It Can. Keyconfig installed, and configuration changed.
I also took the opportunity to disable the F12 mapping for Firebug - another Firefox addon that I have installed and use very occasionally - but not often enough to justify stealing the F12 mapping (that I do have to use elsewhere - mainly when using the remote KVM on our blade chassis at work...!)

I must admit it really is great to be able to use a tool like Firefox and know that there's an addon for just about everything. :-) I have FireFTP, Adblock Plus, HTTPS-Everywhere, Firebug, Gmail Manager, NoScript and User-Agent Switcher (off the top of my head) and the best part is that I can use those addons on any of my machines, as long as they run Firefox (of a current nature). Windows, Linux, the lot.

Now if only they hadn't changed to this crummy version numbering schema they're now using to keep up with the Joneses, or is that, the Googles...

So.. my Ubuntu 10.10 box having been supplied with RPA data for Firefox and Thunderbird, upgraded me to Firefox 8.0 about a week ago.

Interestingly now if I try to hit http://www.asb.co.nz it now tries to send me a download into my browser...

"application/vnd.wap.xhtml+xml (-1 bytes)"

If I hit their Fastnet site directly https://fnc.asbbank.co.nz that renders as expected - until you finish your session, click 'logout' and it tries to redirect you elsewhere.

I was engaging ASB via Twitter who have their guys 'looking into it' and it appears to be related to my Firefox 8 upgrade.

Interestingly I also discovered that www.hotfrog.co.nz wont load in Firefox 8 either. However I grabbed the User Agent Switching plugin last night, and today I can visit both of the above with an alternative user-agent selected.

For comparison here's my pre and post-upgrade user-agents:

"Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64; rv:7.0.1) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/7.0.1"

(well, as of 11 November)

"Mozilla/5.0 (Ubuntu; X11; Linux x86_64; rv:8.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/8.0"

(as of today)

Interesting the 'Ubuntu' assertion that's been inserted.

So, um, 'hai hotfrog, hai ASB, please update your user-agent lists, thx!' :-)

(And it's not just me. Check out Auckland LUG discussion for more.)

Web URL's known to not work with my FF8/Ubuntu User Agent:

www.asb.co.nz as at 20111130 renders mobile site. @ASBBank have Acknowledged and are 'looking into' it.
www.hotfrog.co.nz as at 20111130 doesn't work at all. @HotFrogAU has Acknowledged which is excellent.
www.cudo.co.nz as at 20111130 renders mobile site. No tweeting for them?

Stuff has the article thanks to @roanne1 for tweeting about it.

I know for a fact one of my email addresses is in that database. So i'm keen to see this plonker, plonked...

Shamelessly stolen from https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/gmail-manager/reviews/ part way down the page.

So originally when this broke a few days ago I did Xander/Divirsit's fix and it seemed to work good. However earlier today I noticed that it stopped letting me left click on the user account and correctly pull up the gmail mailbox in a new tab. It would always redirect me to the gmail login page instead of auto logging in like it always did.. I ended up modifying the link in gmServiceGmail.js as follows:

this._loginURL = "https://www.google.com/accounts/ServiceLoginAuth";
should be changed to this
this._loginURL = "https://accounts.google.com/ServiceLoginAuth";

After I changed that I can now click on a mailbox from gmail manager and it launch the mailbox fully logged in like usual. If anyone else started having this same problem today try the above change, hopefully it works..

I'm hoping the dev picks back up this add-on or maybe we'll have to repackage it and release it soon under a different name.

Implemented and worked for me. You need to restart Firefox before it'll take effect.

Piracy, or Piracy? :-)

There's a certain resonant truth in this "LulzSec" article by Patrick Grey, the man behind Risky Business, a Security Blogger and Podcaster known to the NZ 'scene'.

It's hilarious. Hilarious because it's so true.

In my opinion it is possible to build a 'secure' system - but there's a couple of caveats.

1) Security comes in many layers; electronic security is just one. If someone can get physical access to your gear, your network, your workstations or servers... you're toast.
2) Any system with external connectivity is reduced in security, Firewalls or no Firewalls. IPSEC or no IPSEC.
3) Any system with Internet connectivity is worse again.

Note that 2 and 3 are different. Ultimately the Internet has to be looked at as a 'wild, wild west of computers' and one has to accept that by being online, you've got a big target painted on you. All you can do is reduce your profile. Much like dodging criminals in our fine city's dodgier neighbourhoods. Nod to Metlstorm's 'low hanging fruit' presentation from Kiwicon 2009.... if your fruit hang low they will be harvested, along with all the goodness contained therein.

So if you want a truly secure environment, connectivity to the Internet should be seen as a) optional, and b) risky. And if you're on the Internet, accept that there's definate limitations to the level of security you can expect.

This goes double, and perhaps even triple, for anyone actively using Facebook or its ilk. How much of your personal data is on there? How much faith are you putting in a megacorp who's in the 'we're so big the individual doesn't matter' camp?

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