Blog Archive

Viewing page 1 from archive of June 2011

My camera may be going through its death throws. Hold in there little buddy!

@mikeboers on . Visit on Twitter.

Categories: .

Today I learned that the PayPal APIs do not always use UTF8; the donator who triggered this discovery was rather concerned. Oops.

@mikeboers on . Visit on Twitter.

Categories: .

New Cards

Finally about to send my new cards off to the printer. First take a look at the front:

The background and the words on it are both black. The words, however, are rich black, so they should appear glossy on the flat background. The templates I'm giving the printer has ~20 cards on it so I get a slight variation on what words are actually on each one as well.

The back is more interesting:

Every card has a unique code on it, and a QR code that can be scanned with a phone. Should be useful whenever I give someone a card to contact me with a purpose, as I can customize what is displayed to them when they go to that link. I spent way too much time designing a lovely crypto system to drive the codes, until I decided to simply randomly generate them and keep track. There are ~35 trillion codes of this size, and I'll at most use a couple thousand so as long as I do a little bit of rate limiting on the website (say about an hour of delay if you enter 10 wrong codes) then nobody should ever be able to guess them.

Posted . Categories: .

Turns out the worst of my VM networking issues were due to more and more sites using #IPv6; that was odd.

@mikeboers on . Visit on Twitter.


Recording my calls to service providers (eg. #fido, #teksavvy) is proving to be an invaluable source of confidence when dealing with them.

@mikeboers on . Visit on Twitter.


The most disconcerting part about using #Bitcoin is the feeling that I must have nightly backups of my wallet.

@mikeboers on . Visit on Twitter.


One Time Passwords for SSH on Ubuntu and OS X

I have been meaning to beef up the security on my various servers for a while. Everything was configured in a way that was relatively closed, but ultimately I decided that convenience outweighed absolute security. To that end, my passwords are not as good as they could be (ie. I can remember them easily and type them quickly (although they were designed to be...)), SSH continues to serve from the default port, and one could SSH to root just with its (enormous) password.

Walking home from the train yesterday I decided to finally fix this. My original idea was to setup a pluggable authentication module (PAM) for Steve Gibson's "Perfect Paper Passwords", but I soon discovered the (slightly more official) Initiative for Open Authentication (OATH). OATH provides specifications for two types of one time passwords (OTPs): event based (HOTP) or time based (TOTP).

Event based OTPs are generated from a counter that increments every time you ask for a password. The servers keep track of the current counter so they will never accept previous passwords again (eg. if someone watches over your shoulder or there is a key logger). Time based OTPs do much the same, except they are based off of the current time and so are only valid for the current 30 second block.

These sorts of two-factor authentication schemes often rely upon proprietary hardware and expensive service plans, but the openness of OATH allows for free apps for iOS, Android, and many more. Another open source project, OATH Toolkit, provides the server side code including a PAM.

Read more... (6 minutes remaining to read.)

Posted . Categories: .

The Varied Skies of Vancouver

I've been running out onto the balcony a lot to take a look at the mountains (as you have surely noticed by now). I've lined a number of them up as best I can to present here.

Read more... (1 minute remaining to read.)

Posted . Categories: .

I need a name for a new #Python module for generating QR codes; PyQRcode is already taken... Anyone?

@mikeboers on . Visit on Twitter.


#Shaw guy came and fixed it in a minute; another of their techs physically disconnected my line at the source. That took a week to fix?

@mikeboers on . Visit on Twitter.

View posts before May 18, 2011