Thoughts on the Moves Privacy Policy

Posted Mon 05 May 2014 11:07 under category tech

For a while, I've been using the Moves app for iOS. It's a little application that uses the accelerometer and GPS data from your phone to tell you where you've been and how many steps you've taken and so on and so forth. I've been using it in no small part because of their strong third-party privacy policy, which said:

We do not disclose an individual user’s data to third parties unless (1) you have given explicit consent to each such disclosure, (2) we are required to comply with a legal obligation or (3 ...

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Interesting SSL Issue

Posted Mon 24 March 2014 22:54 under category tech

Shortly after I upgraded to OS X 10.9.2, I was connecting to battle.net, and I got an SSL error. At the time, I didn't think anything of it (after all, sites have bad SSL certificates all the time). However, I noticed it again today when looking at the page for Reaper of Souls, and decided to look into it again. When I did, I found something very unusual: my system has a second copy of the DigiCert root CA certificate in the "login" keychain. For those of you who aren't familiar, OS X uses a ...

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GPG (2013 Update)

Posted Fri 14 June 2013 09:30 under category tech

In light of all of the hullabaloo about PRISM and other spying technology, I thought it'd be good to remind all of your dear readers that we've had the technology to ensure private communications on the Internet for 22 years in the form of Pretty Good Privacy (and the much-more-commonly-used implementation, GnuPG). Ars Technica had an okay article about e-mail encryption with PGP which I recommend reading, although you should keep in mind that most security professionals would consider infrastructural PKI like SSL and S/MIME to be compromised by nation-state-level adversaries (and all associated MIC contractors).

Anyhow ...

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*nix Tip of the Day: Dynamic DNS

Posted Fri 18 December 2009 16:29 under category tips

Bonjour logo

It's nice to have DNS records for all of your computers. It's a giant pain in the ass to remember IP addresses, especially if you're on something like a cable connection, where the IP address is dynamic (but only changes every month or two). Now, you could go ahead and use DynDNS or No-IP or something. But those are lame. You have to use a subdomain of one of their domains, and you have to use their software to update. You might be wondering if there's a better way. Well, there is. Standard DNS supports updating, it turns out. In BIND, this is managed through the allow-update parameter. I had some free time this week after I finished finals, so I went ahead and set it up, along with the other trimmings required for Wide-Area Bonjour. It's cool, so I thought I'd post a bit.

The most important resource for all of this stuff is dns-sd.org. Aside from a couple of minor errors that I corrected and an update for OS X 10.5+, this Tip will be based off of the guides from that site. So credit to them.

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*nix Tip of the Day: VMS

Posted Sun 29 November 2009 17:01 under category tips

Okay, so this is maybe a little unusual, but today's "*nix Tip of the Day" isn't about Unix/Linux/etc. at all. Instead, it is about their antiquated archenemy: VMS. First, a little bit of history:

History

Way back in 1970, the PDP-11 was hot stuff. Ken Thompson, Dennis Richie, Brian Kernighan, and others at Bell Labs were writing what would become Unix for the PDP-11 (well, for the PDP-7 at first, but nobody talks about that). Unix was a huge improvement over what DEC shipped with the PDP-11, DOS-11 and RT-11. This couldn't stand, so Dave Cutler at DEC designed VMS. It was a new operating system, with lots of fancy features, like networking and, uh, lots of upper-case letters.

VMS and Unix sort of battled on. Or so some people would have you think. Really, Unix won early on and VMS stumbled along with corporate financing and an obnoxiously difficult-to-use interface. It passed from DEC to Compaq to HP, from the PDP-11 to the Alpha to the Itanium. And it still lives on, churning away in scary back-rooms here and there.

Current Events

So, why do I bring this up? Well, as some of you may know, Harvey Mudd College has a few VMS machines around. The most well-known of these (to students) is thuban, which is a 667MHz DEC Alpha running OpenVMS 7.3-2. Today, I had the, uh, interesting experience of using it, and thought I'd share my impressions with my readers. You can see the proof of my VMS skills at my VMS homepage. That's right, I'm on the Internet. And on DECnet.

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WordPress 2.8.1

Posted Sun 12 July 2009 15:04 under category meta

Just in case anybody cares, I've upgraded the site to the latest and greatest (WordPress version 2.8.1). No user action is required at this time.

Also, the code behind the blog is now valid HTML5, and there's a Google Friend Connect widget so you can participate in discussions without creating yet another account (woo!).

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