Older blog entries for hands (starting at number 10)

Booting USB sticks via grub4dos lets you boot (some) CD images

Having spent about 3 days getting my new USB stick to boot exactly similarly regardless of whether the machine supports USB-HDD or only USB-ZIP, as well as letting you to choose between a few fun things to boot (including debian-installer, which on a stick big enough to carry a DVD image makes it rather useful) I thought I'd better describe how to build my attempt at the ultimate-usb-stick.

The next trick is going to be getting debian-live and debian-installer ISO's to be clever enough to look around for an ISO image, and if found, loop mount it, rather than just getting in a strop when they realise that they don't know where they came from.

Syndicated 2009-06-15 00:20:30 from chezfil

HTTPS VirtualHosts

Until a couple of weeks ago, I was under the impression that one could only have a single HTTPS site per IP address, but it seems I was wrong.

The procedure is described here on the CACert wiki.

In short, you need multiple SubjectAltName fields on your server's certificate, such that all the VirtualHost names that you want to work are either directly mentioned, or will match via wildcards.

The page above includes a link to a nice script that generates a key and CSR (Certificate Signing Request) ready to be pasted into CAcert's Server Certificate page.

Note: the CN is pretty much ignored by some browsers, so you'll want to put the machine's main name as one of the SubjectAltNames as well.

BTW if you get a warning like:

    [warn] _default_ VirtualHost overlap on port 443, the first has precedence

you probably need to add

    NameVirtualHost *:443

to your /etc/apache2/sites-enabled/ssl before the <VirtualHost *:443> line.

Of course, this glosses over the details of doing things like setting your name and address in the certificate, but since CAcert will strip all that out anyway, it only matters if you wanted to get it signed by someone else. Even so, this should get you started -- you can always edit those details into the csr script.

Syndicated 2008-12-08 19:26:23 from chezfil

There's probably no god. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life

Alain Williams just sent me a link to the Atheist Bus Campaign which was started to raise £5,500.00 GBP in order to buy adverts on the sides of busses in London.

As I write they have raised £111,832.43, so over 20 times what they needed for the London busses. I'm so impressed with this that I gave them £100.00

Update: I note the campaign's page, where among other things they link to a clip from the BBC's Have I got news for you which is rather amusing about this, particularly the last joke. Also, Justgiving's blog seems in awe about how this has taken off. As they mention, there's even a wikipedia page about this.

Syndicated 2008-10-28 00:00:00 from chezfil

Virgin Media (ex. NTL) support Linux just fine, despite their claims not to.

Today I helped a friend sign up with Virgin Media's broadband service. He was having trouble, as their front-page at http://activation.virginmedia.com/ does a brain-damaged test, and tells you that they only support Windows and MacOS X and that if you have anything else you'll need to phone them at a pound a minute so you can talk to some idiot until you lose the will to live (or some such).

After a brief rummage, I noticed that if instead of doing what they tell you to do, you go to https://autoreg.autoregister.net/ you get prompted for whether you're signing up for Broadband or Dialup, and on clicking Broadband, you're lead through the sign-up procedure with no complaints about compatibility, and within 5 minutes he was online with his GNU/Linux (Ubuntu) system and Firefox browser.

This makes me wonder why Virgin Media bother putting extra effort into turning users away when in fact the sign-up procedure would work perfectly if they hadn't bothered with the stupid browser test.

Syndicated 2007-12-21 00:00:00 from chezfil

Linus' new T-Shirt

Nice to see the British Computer Society finally run Linus to ground after 7 years, so that they could pin the Ada Lovelace Medal on him, but I reckon he looked even more pleased when he got a new T-Shirt:

Linus Torvalds seems pleased with his new Debian T-Shirt

Syndicated 2007-09-04 23:00:00 from chezfil

In case you're wondering...

In case you're wondering...

The answer is: No

Syndicated 2007-06-09 23:00:01 from chezfil

DebConf7 Office Phone

DebConf7's phone number is now live: +44 (0)131 516 8575

At present, that number goes through to a phone in the hacklab, so don't be surprised if it gets answered by someone that has little clue about what's going on organisation-wise. We'll get it setup in the office ... when we have an office :-)

Syndicated 2007-06-09 23:00:00 from chezfil

Debian Tartan Kilts expected to be ready on Friday

... which is a nice surprise, since when I phoned the weavers up last week, they said something like "You want the kilts by WHEN?!?" (and that despite me specifying the target date as the first thing I said to them in January -- good job I lied, and told them I wanted them by 1st June, eh?)

Seems that was all due to an internal communications failure, and they've pulled all the stops out to get the order done by the end of the week, so no harm done.

In related news, it seems that there's a few yards more cloth than was expected (due to it shrinking somewhat less between weaving and finishing than expected). That being the case, it's possible that we'll be able to get one more kilt made, so if you're reading this thinking "Damn, I wish I'd signed up for one of them" feel free to get in touch

Alternatively, if the ties we've had made prove popular, I'll use the spare cloth for making more of them.

So, if you do fancy a kilt, if you can get your measurements to me pretty much immediately, it's just possible that the tailors will be able to make a kilt for you before the end of DebConf.

Finally, if people are interested, but not desperate about the timing, there is a table on the wiki to which you could add yourself so that a critical mass for a second order can be accumulated.

Syndicated 2007-06-04 23:00:00 from chezfil

Debian Tartan

The design is now agreed with the weavers, but unfortunately I misunderstood the price-list, so the prices I've been quoting for hand-sewn 8-yard kilts, and machined lady's 4-yard kilt-skirts were too low -- the correct prices for those and a couple of other things being:

Hand-sewn, 8 yard kilt: £420.00
Machined, 4-yard, skirt-kilt (lady's): £237.50
Machined, 6-yard kilt: £270.00
Waistcoat: £113.00

I'm sorry about quoting prices without making absolutely sure they were correct, the reason was that I was quoting the prices for standard weaves from stock, and it turns out that the custom weaves are more expensive.

That said, note that the machined kilts are £80.00 cheaper than the previously quoted price (for hand-sewn), and that these are perhaps more appropriate to the use to which many of us will be putting the kilts anyway (hand-sewn are really an evening dress item, after all)

Even so, I'll probably still fork out for the full 8-yards, on the basis that my dinner jacket is falling to bits after 20 years wear, so I need something new anyway.

In case you're wondering what on earth I'm talking about, this has been discussed elsewhere

Just to make sure there are no other nasty surprises, if you are of a more rotund nature, you may find that it will take some extra material to encompass your circumference -- as an example, a 7 yard machined gents kilt will cost an extra fiver to stitch, and an extra £25.00 for the yard of cloth, so will come in at £300.00 rather than the usual £270.00

Confused? Well, so was I --- The designer's sending me a fuller price list, which I will ensure than anyone on the list of currently interested people is fully conversant with before we put the order in, so don't panic that I'll spend your money without giving you a final chance to come to your senses ;-)

I hope that doesn't result in everyone changing their minds, but I'll understand completely if it does. Alternatively, you could decide that this is an opportunity to save yourself £80.00 by opting for a machined kilt (which AIUI are still made to measure, but just have proportionately less work and material in them)

Anyway I'll post any further developments here so as not to continue spamming the lists.

So, if you're interested in getting hold of any of the above despite the new prices, and have not yet told me you need to mail me now! -- the order will probably go in at the end of the week.

Syndicated 2007-03-14 00:00:00 from chezfil

MBNA's lax attitude towards security

Today I received a copy of the PIN for my MBNA credit card in the post, despite not having asked for it.

In response, I've cancelled my account, and reported their incompetence to You and Yours.

I suppose I shouldn't be all that surprised, since MBNA have a habit of randomly sending out unsolicited cheques (which also has worrying security implications), but I actually found it quite shocking to see the PIN that I'd chosen printed in clear text.

Obviously, in the first instance they generate a random PIN, and print it out, but I was rather hoping that their systems would be set up so that that random PIN, and certainly any PIN subsequently selected by the customer, would not be available in clear text at any time. If I forget my PIN, they should generate a new one, not remind me of the old one. They should not be able to remind me of the old one.

The two people I talked to seemed surprised that I would cancel an account that I've had for about 13 years over a single PIN in the post, but given that that's their policy, I don't think it's a massive leap to think that a corrupt postman might be tempted to collect these PIN letters (which are pretty easy to spot and most of which are not being expected, so won't be missed). Then, assuming that a reasonable percentage of people will match MBNA's laxness by setting all their PINs alike, the criminals will be armed with all the information they need to do a targeted mugging for the card(s), with an average return in tens of thousands of pounds, especially if they hospitalise/kill the victim to ensure they don't get to cancel the cards.

Syndicated 2006-11-11 00:00:00 from chezfil

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