Wednesday, December 30

SSH keys, my how I hate you sometimes.

So, earlier today I was setting up some SSH keys to be able to connect back and forth between various machines in my network.  Seems like a normal thing for a guy with a bunch of Unix machines around the house to do right?  Well, apparently it was more painful than I thought.

I had:
PubkeyAuthentication yes

I had the permissions right on all the files, on both the client and the server, yes, I checked this, and that.

So, here I am racking my brain, "why isn't this working", darn it.. what am I overlooking?  So I IM'ed a friend of mine, Richard Harman, who is the master of a bunch of things, one of the things is Linuxy, Unixy stuff -- at this point I'm at my wits end, and trying to figure it out, I am racking my brain.

Richard connects up to my computer, and he has the same problem (can't connect via SSH key), so it's obviously a server problem.

We start daemons in debug mode, looking at RPM packages (this particular server was running Fedora 10), heck, I was even looking at bugs in SELINUX as the culprit.  Nothing.

We noticed one line in particular that was bothering us..  every time someone tried to connect to sshd on the SERVER's SSHD debug line, it was trying to access /root/.ssh/authorized_keys.  No matter what the user.  Obviously, this isn't right.  I tested this out by moving my authorized_keys file to root's /.ssh directory and it worked right away.

After poking around a bit, Richard found the problem:
AuthorizedKeysFile     ~/.ssh/authorized_keys

Because, when SSHD starts up, the sshd_config file was expanding "~/" to the home directory, and since sshd starts as root..  the ONLY directory it was going to look in was /root/.ssh/authorized_keys

Richard changed this to:
AuthorizedKeysFile      .ssh/authorized_keys

It worked and life is fine now.  Two characters.  TWO.  (That I didn't put there, or at least don't remember putting there.)

Thanks Richard.

Tuesday, December 29

Getting Urlview to work on Snow Leopard

I've been using Mutt lately.  (I'll post more later on how I overcame my objections to it.... and how to make it work with multiple Gmail accounts forwarded to each other -- which was my major headache actually).  Unfortunately, urlview crashes if you download the source (ftp://ftp.guug.de/pub/mutt/contrib/) and compile it natively on Snow Leopard.

Well, after a ton of searching, posting to the Mutt Mailing list and what not, Brenden Cully (The maintainer of the fink package for OSX) posted this patch to urlview.c.  The code will make urlview compile correctly and run on Snow Leopard (10.6).  I still haven't figured out the bugs with lbdb and ABQuery on Snow Leopard yet, but once I get that patched up, we'll be good to go.  Then I'll post why I've finally reverted back to using Mutt (instead of Gmail) for my desktop email.

@@ -506,10 +506,11 @@                                                                                                                    

          free (url[current]);                                                                                                           

          url[current] = strdup (buf);                                                                                                   

          endwin ();                                                                                                                     

+         quote (scratch, sizeof (scratch), url[current]);                                                                               

          if (strstr (command, "%s"))                                                                                                    

-           snprintf (buf, sizeof (buf), command, quote (scratch, sizeof (scratch), url[current                                          

]));                                                                                                                                     

+           snprintf (buf, sizeof (buf), command, scratch);                                                                              

          else                                                                                                                           

-           snprintf (buf, sizeof (buf), "%s %s", command, quote (scratch, sizeof (scratch), ur                                          

l[current]));                                                                                                                            

+           snprintf (buf, sizeof (buf), "%s %s", command, scratch);                                                                     

          printf ("Executing: %s...\n", buf);                                                                                            

          fflush (stdout);                                                                                                               

          system (buf);

 

Monday, December 28

Review: Vtech DS6322 w/ Bluetooth

My wife bought me this for Xmas, and it's probably one of the best ideas ever.  The Vtech DS6322 w/ Bluetooth, is a 3 or 4 phone kit with bases (with an answering machine) that has Bluetooth capability.  Buy.com has it here.  So, after I paired my wife and I's cell phones to the base, now, when we come home our cell phones connect to the base, and then calls that come in our cell phones can be answered via the regular phone.

The regular phone has all the regular cordless phone buttons that you'd expect to see, plus one additional, a "Cell" button.  Whenever a phone call comes in on the cell phone, we just tap this button and we can answer it, all without having to run all over the house to try and find our cell phones.  It's convenient, as we have the base station (w/ Answering Machine) and our cell phones plugged into this piece of handiness from Pottery Barn (ours is black). The cell phones stay put in that area, along with the base station, and now we don't have to sprint all over the house looking for phones when one rings.

You can even import the phone books of the phones into the base station.  (Nice!)  You can set a static ringer, per phone line, so you know exactly which line someone is calling in on.

I recommend it.

Thursday, December 24

Bottom Posting

Recently was chastised for Bottom posting on a Mailing list, so I thought I'd write a few words about it.

I bottom (or inline post) mostly because I like the email to be a message. You read a message or a letter from top to bottom, from left to right. It wasn't until email clients started top posting (looking at you Outlook/Lotus Notes) that email was written in the top-posting format, forcing you to read an email backwards.

So I looked it up, basically looking at two different information stores.

Wikipedia -- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Posting_style
RFC1855 -- http://www.ietf.org/rfc/rfc1855.txt

These two places will define how to write email and how email should be written, on mailing lists, use groups, or any other email transaction.

The particular part to pay attention to is in RFC1855 --

"- If you are sending a reply to a message or a posting be sure you
summarize the original at the top of the message, or include just
enough text of the original to give a context. This will make
sure readers understand when they start to read your response.
Since NetNews, especially, is proliferated by distributing the
postings from one host to another, it is possible to see a
response to a message before seeing the original. Giving context
helps everyone. But do not include the entire original!"

Summarize the email at the top, and post below it. In other words, bottom-posting is the correct way to write email, as per RFC.

Tuesday, December 22

Instapaper is so great

I am not sure if Instapaper has apps for anything other than the iPhone, and I kind of doubt, if that exclusivity exists, that it will last any amount of time.

Instapaper is one of those new 2.0 companies that is web/app based. They provide you a free log in to their website, which by the way, by default, had no password. Past this login you get a bookmarklet, similar to the "readbility" bookmarklet I talked about earlier, which, upon use, allows you to turn any article you are reading into a saved article of sorts.

For example, earlier today I was reading an entry on a blog, it was rather long, and I wasn't going to have time to finish reading it as I was about to head out to go to the dentist.

So, with this combination of app/website, I tapped my instapaper bookmarklet, which takes whatever you are reading, and puts it up in the "cloud". Which, provided you then have the Instapaper app on your iPhone, can sync this content down to your mobile device.

Now, whatever article I was reading, just by tapping one button, is now formatted in nice big text on my iPhone, and I can take with me.

I don't know the size limitation of the file you can put on instapaper, I don't know, for instance if you can put a whole book up there or something, but for now, while I am in the dentists waiting room, I have articles to read instead of the weeks old copies of  "Newsweek".

Why don't I use something like Google reader? Well I can, except for those websites that shorten their rss feeds to force clickthroughs. It's another couple steps, who knows how it is going to be formatted, and who knows what kind of connectivity you are going to have.

Which, also by the way, is why I removed the "shortened rss" clickthrough thing for my blog. It annoyed me, so I figured it was probably annoying you.

Monday, December 21

Thank you Google Cache

I was able to pull the posts that I lost back from Google Cache. So, back to normal. Thanks.

Facebook User? Might want to check your settings.

Many of you that use Facebook may have clicked right through it.  But recently Facebook made a couple changes to their privacy settings that you may want to take a look at.  You can read about the settings that they have changed here.  Basically Facebook did two things, first, if you have never made any changes to your privacy settings in the first place, Facebook altered your default privacy settings so that everyone can now read your postings, your status, your friends.


I have a feeling that most of the readers of my blog may value their privacy and may have realized that these settings were taking place.  But you might want to double check that these settings are up to your standards.  Basically, there’s two points that I’d recommend that you check.

Log into Facebook, click Settings in the top right, then click Profile Information.  Review each one of the items for the correct settings, the most important one being the “Search” section.

When I clicked on it today, I was presented by this pop-up:


So, weigh that statement against the “rather safe than sorry” thought process, and make of it what you will.  I still clicked on “Search”, then unchecked the “Index” button.

I moved the Snort Drinking Game

I moved the Snort Drinking Game from it’s old domain over here to this blog now:

http://blog.joelesler.net/the-snort-drinking-game

Moving to Wordpress

I just wanted to put out that moving to Wordpress, from Blogger, is probably one of the more painful experiences in my life so far.  But I found out a few things.

First things first, I found out that Wordpress, is actually, a really good platform for webpage creation.  Notice that I didn’t say blogging, it does that too, but it does a really good job for just basic webpage creation.  Probably the easiest “plug and play” system there is.

Problem is, I can easily see how there are so many security issues with Wordpress.  With plugins, themes, different pages, tools, etc..  This thing is php all the way through, which means, who knows that problems there are in the back of the system.  No more than any other blogging platform though I guess.

So, all my posts from Blogger have been moved over here now, and through the magic of mod_rewrite, things are working well.  I am going to be implementing mod_security as well, which is perfect because I recently received a new ModSecurity 2.5 book that I am reviewing.  So I’ll use the book as a chance to really evaluate the techniques to secure this website.

Currently I have two websites.  This blog, and another domain that I maintain, which I am going to be pointing over here as well.  Since I am basically consolidating all my content into one page.  I think this will make my life slightly easier, and really, that’s what moving to blogger was ultimately about.  Total customization in a nice neat package.

However, for now, there are still some 404’s that I am seeing.  Not sure why they are appearing, but I am going to have to fix those.

So for now, stay flexible, as I am still playing with the site.  I’ll get it squared away as soon as possible.

The Magic of Mod_Rewrite

After several large headaches dealing with Mod_Rewrite over the weekend, I finally have about 20 different ways to subscribe to the RSS feeds of this website all redirected over to Feedburner (and what do you know, I had about 400 subscribers that I didn't know anything about! Welcome!).
Here's a couple examples of things I had to do:


RewriteRule /feed$ http://feeds\.feedburner\.com/RandomThoughtsFromJoelsWorld [R=301,L]

RewriteRule /feeds/posts/default?alt=rss http://feeds\.feedburner\.com/RandomThoughtsFromJoelsWorld [R=301,L]

RewriteRule /feeds/posts/default http://feeds\.feedburner\.com/RandomThoughtsFromJoelsWorld [R=301,L]

RewriteRule /finshake/Blog/rss\.xml http://feeds\.feedburner\.com/RandomThoughtsFromJoelsWorld [R=301,L]



Hopefully everyone didn't experience (*many*) problems.  Thanks.

Just a couple Snow pictures

Just a couple pictures of the big Snow storm we had over the weekend...  For those of you that live in Snowy sections of the country, this is probably not exciting.  However, for Delaware, this much Snow happens about every 10 years (1996 was the last time it happened.  We had 4 ft back then)

The official measurement for my area is 26 inches.  I had that in the below picture.  But I had some areas on the sides of the house that were over four feet.




Sunday, December 20

How to totally screw up a Wordpess blog...

Do whatever I just did.

I lost about 4 posts. Sorry about that. I'm so awesome.

If you happen to have those last few posts of mine, feel free to email them to me.

Monday, December 14

Things I wish about Email

Someone asked me:

"Joel,


I read your last post on Thunderbird and noticed you said [...] that you were "over client based email".  I use Thunderbird.  Why do you say that?  What don't you like about [...], client based applications?"  -- Yes I paraphrased.  But spelling is intact.

Mail.app
-- I would like the ability to shut off Spotlight indexing.  Meaning, I don't want Mail.app to download all of my Mail locally.  It's IMAP, that means keep it up in the cloud.  I don't want it here.  Also?  Very slow when dealing with Gmail.
-- I would like the "new" ability to "archive" an email with a keyboard shortcut.  In Thunderbird 3.0, I can mash the "a" key and the Email that is currently selected is archived.
-- Threading.  Threading is awful.  It works GREAT in Gmail, and is perhaps Gmail's best feature, bar none.
-- No way to bottom post.

Thunderbird
-- Same as Mail.app as far as the Spotlight indexing goes, except, I can shut it off in Thunderbird (awesome!).  But I don't want the client to download my email.  Period.  I want it kept in the cloud with no local copy.
-- Slow.  SLOW.
-- Threading, same as Mail.app, Threading sucks.  Again, Gmail has this down.
-- Too much CPU
-- Too much RAM.  (600 Megs?  Are you kidding me?)

Mutt
-- Slow
-- Can't open attachments, (yes, I know what you Mutt guys are going to say, but still, I would like the ability to just click (or tap a shortcut key) and open an attachment.  Not having to do a bunch of crazy nonsense to tie apps together.
-- Threading, I rather like the threading that Mutt has, and the customizability of Mutt beats everything else, bar none.

Outlook
-- Seriously, Outlook sucks.
-- Why am I including it here?
-- No way to bottom post
-- Inconsistant GUI
-- Slow
-- No way to bottom post.  Check out this fix (http://home.in.tum.de/~jain/software/outlook-quotefix/)
-- No addons
-- No archiving
-- PST size limits
-- Bad rule granularity.


I solicited feedback from Twitter, regarding the above, and these are the responses I got.

"Lack of keyboard for control wrt to moving from folder to folder.. GMail makes that very easy." -- @jasonish


"The difficulty in working with the OS address book - Thunderbird vs Windows 7 contacts comes to mind (complicates my iphone sync)"
-- @tomsellers


"haven't found one with a conversation view on par with gmail."
-- @jjarmoc


"1) Folders < Labels (ability to 'symlink' emails to multiple tags) 2) i use 3-4 devices to check mail 3)Gmail's thread handling"
-- @jamesjtucker

and in the interest of fairness.  I'll get on Gmail too.

Gmail
-- I want the ability to mark two conversations and make them thread together.  For instance, let's say there is a thread, then someone answers that thread, but the mail client for that person adds "UNCLASSIFIED" to the thread.  The Thread is then broken, visually, but it is still the same.  I want to be able to combine them.
-- Your IMAP implementation really sucks.  Bad.  Oh, and it's slow as hell too, almost artificially.  Seems like you really don't want people using any other email solution except for the web.
-- Drag and drop of attachments.  This should be possible in HTML5, or at least with Google Gears
-- Lack of Google Gears (and thusly, no offline gmail support) for Safari/Snow Leopard.  Can we get rid of Gears and be HTML5 compliant please?
-- Lack of Bottom Posting option.  No, addons through Greasemonkey do not count.  Want to really impress me?  Reformat an entire email (when I hit reply), to flip the thread around based upon indexing, (come on, you guys can figure that out), to read top to bottom.
Check this out Google.  Do THIS and all would be awesome -- http://home.in.tum.de/~jain/software/outlook-quotefix/
-- GPG/PGP support.  I don't use it, simply because it's a pain.  So I don't.  I probably would if I could.
-- The ability to filter on more headers.  Ideally, I'd love to be able to perform regex on headers.  Similar to procmail.
-- Label based signature blocks.  Or at least account based.





Please leave comments below.

Things I wish about Email

Someone asked me:

"Joel,


I read your last post on Thunderbird and noticed you said [...] that you were "over client based email".  I use Thunderbird.  Why do you say that?  What don't you like about [...], client based applications?"  -- Yes I paraphrased.  But spelling is intact.

Mail.app
-- I would like the ability to shut off Spotlight indexing.  Meaning, I don't want Mail.app to download all of my Mail locally.  It's IMAP, that means keep it up in the cloud.  I don't want it here.  Also?  Very slow when dealing with Gmail.
-- I would like the "new" ability to "archive" an email with a keyboard shortcut.  In Thunderbird 3.0, I can mash the "a" key and the Email that is currently selected is archived.
-- Threading.  Threading is awful.  It works GREAT in Gmail, and is perhaps Gmail's best feature, bar none.
-- No way to bottom post.

Thunderbird
-- Same as Mail.app as far as the Spotlight indexing goes, except, I can shut it off in Thunderbird (awesome!).  But I don't want the client to download my email.  Period.  I want it kept in the cloud with no local copy.
-- Slow.  SLOW.
-- Threading, same as Mail.app, Threading sucks.  Again, Gmail has this down.
-- Too much CPU
-- Too much RAM.  (600 Megs?  Are you kidding me?)

Mutt
-- Slow
-- Can't open attachments, (yes, I know what you Mutt guys are going to say, but still, I would like the ability to just click (or tap a shortcut key) and open an attachment.  Not having to do a bunch of crazy nonsense to tie apps together.
-- Threading, I rather like the threading that Mutt has, and the customizability of Mutt beats everything else, bar none.

Outlook
-- Seriously, Outlook sucks.
-- Why am I including it here?
-- No way to bottom post
-- Inconsistant GUI
-- Slow
-- No way to bottom post.  Check out this fix (http://home.in.tum.de/~jain/software/outlook-quotefix/)
-- No addons
-- No archiving
-- PST size limits
-- Bad rule granularity.

I solicited feedback from Twitter, regarding the above, and these are the responses I got.

"Lack of keyboard for control wrt to moving from folder to folder.. GMail makes that very easy." -- @jasonish


"The difficulty in working with the OS address book - Thunderbird vs Windows 7 contacts comes to mind (complicates my iphone sync)"
-- @tomsellers


"haven't found one with a conversation view on par with gmail."
-- @jjarmoc


"1) Folders < Labels (ability to 'symlink' emails to multiple tags) 2) i use 3-4 devices to check mail 3)Gmail's thread handling"
-- @jamesjtucker

and in the interest of fairness.  I'll get on Gmail too.

Gmail
-- I want the ability to mark two conversations and make them thread together.  For instance, let's say there is a thread, then someone answers that thread, but the mail client for that person adds "UNCLASSIFIED" to the thread.  The Thread is then broken, visually, but it is still the same.  I want to be able to combine them.
-- Your IMAP implementation really sucks.  Bad.  Oh, and it's slow as hell too, almost artificially.  Seems like you really don't want people using any other email solution except for the web.
-- Drag and drop of attachments.  This should be possible in HTML5, or at least with Google Gears
-- Lack of Google Gears (and thusly, no offline gmail support) for Safari/Snow Leopard.  Can we get rid of Gears and be HTML5 compliant please?
-- Lack of Bottom Posting option.  No, addons through Greasemonkey do not count.  Want to really impress me?  Reformat an entire email (when I hit reply), to flip the thread around based upon indexing, (come on, you guys can figure that out), to read top to bottom.
Check this out Google.  Do THIS and all would be awesome -- http://home.in.tum.de/~jain/software/outlook-quotefix/
-- GPG/PGP support.  I don't use it, simply because it's a pain.  So I don't.  I probably would if I could.
-- The ability to filter on more headers.  Ideally, I'd love to be able to perform regex on headers.  Similar to procmail.
-- Label based signature blocks.  Or at least account based.

False Alarm -- No more Thunderbird

Probably belongs in a tweet, but since I blogged about it here, I'll write it here.

Stopped using Thunderbird.  After it consumed 20 Gigs of space downloading my email, constantly kept my CPU at 80-100% and the hardware fan busy, consuming 500 Megs of RAM...  I ditched it and went back to Gmail on the web.

It did have some very nice features, however, basically, I am just over client email programs.

That is all, you may return to your regularly scheduled programs.


Please leave comments below.

Sunday, December 13

Thunderbird 3.0

I know you've read from me time and again that I am a big proponent of Google's Gmail interface.  However, ever since Mozilla put out Thunderbird 3.0, i've been trying it.  It combines the best of both worlds, offline (even though Gmail just released that non-lab), client access, OSX integration.  But perhaps the best thing is that they have an archiving system now.

You read a message and you mash "a" and the message is placed into an archive by year-month timestamp, and is no longer in your inbox.  The simplest way, client side, to maintain Inbox-Zero.

Take a look at all the new features here.


Please leave comments below.

Thunderbird 3.0

I know you've read from me time and again that I am a big proponent of Google's Gmail interface.  However, ever since Mozilla put out Thunderbird 3.0, i've been trying it.  It combines the best of both worlds, offline (even though Gmail just released that non-lab), client access, OSX integration.  But perhaps the best thing is that they have an archiving system now.

You read a message and you mash "a" and the message is placed into an archive by year-month timestamp, and is no longer in your inbox.  The simplest way, client side, to maintain Inbox-Zero.

Take a look at all the new features here.


Please leave comments below.

Friday, December 11

New Blog for your enjoyment

Friend of mine, Mike Mishou, started a new blog over at http://mishou.org.  So far he has some great posts, and I envision him to continue having great posts.  Head on over to Mike's website and check it out.


Please leave comments below.

New Blog for your enjoyment

Friend of mine, Mike Mishou, started a new blog over at http://mishou.org.  So far he has some great posts, and I envision him to continue having great posts.  Head on over to Mike's website and check it out.


Please leave comments below.

Tuesday, December 8

Google Chrome for the Mac has reached Beta

Happy to see this, because I know several friends of mine have been working on this in the background at Google, and what a good job they have been doing as well.  I have visions of these guys in dimly lit rooms sitting around keyboards, their faces awash in the white glow of XCode, furiously figuring out the bugs and features to put into the Mac version of Chrome.  Okay, enough of that visual.  (you know, keyboards surrounded by cans upon cans of Mountain Dew...)

This morning Google released the Beta version (this is as opposed to the Alpha version that I talked about here) of Google Chrome for the Mac.  (and Linux as well..)  The biggest thing that I noticed that it supported was that it imported all my bookmarks from Safari for me.  Switching to Google Chrome was like,  basically a kid waiting to be put in the big game in school.  Standing on the side lines, sometimes used, sometimes not.  Safari being my primary resource for anything web-related.  Now, with full pads on, helmet in hand, my Quarterback for surfing the information superhighway is now Google Chrome.   I've handed the playbook of imported bookmarks over to Google Chrome, and my new browser has taken the field.

It's quick, it's stable, and each tab launches in it's own process, or thread.  This is priceless, as a crash in one tab does not mean the whole browser will die.  Just that tab.  Well, that's the theory anyway.

Give it a shot.

http://www.google.com/chrome?platform=mac&hl=en

Please leave comments below.