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The many hidden versions in Dropbox

Dropbox has a lovely feature in which they retain multiple versions of your files in case you want to revert some recent changes you have made. When you log into their website they let you pick from approximately all of last month's versions of a given file. However, if you look at URL of the version previews they offer, there is something to notice; they look roughly like:

The w=abcdef is the ID of your file, and the sjid=123456 is the version of that file. Even though the web interface only shows a limited number of versions, since the version numbers appear to start counting at 1 you can simply contruct your own URLs to grab versions that they would not normally allow.

If you are especially careful and copy your browser cookies you can even automate this process to grab all versions of a given file!

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OATH-Toolkit 1.10 on OS X: UPDATE

It turns out the issues I was having compiling OATH-Toolkit was due to a slight change to the build process introduced in version 1.8.1. It is something to do with autoreconf, but I wasn't able to properly diagnose the problem. Ergo my workaround was to simply build only the parts that I needed:

tar -xzf oath-toolkit-1.10.2.tar.gz
cd oath-toolkit-1.10.2
make -C liboath
make -C pam_oath
make -C liboath install
make -C pam_oath install

And now I have time-based one-time-passwords on my Mac as well. The next thing to do is figure out how to get it to check against hashed passwords so I can get back to using a single prompt...

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

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

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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.

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

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

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

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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.

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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.

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