Archive for July, 2007

We’ve Moved!

Just in case some of you haven’t heard, we’ve moved to our own domain! Please update your links to point to http://www.friedcpu.net now. We’ve been fortunate enough to get very affordable hosting from Aeon Hosting, thanks to the kind help from “smdepot” of the #ubuntuforums (Freenode) IRC channel.

Make sure you update your RSS subscriptions as well, because the feed from wordpress.com is no longer the same as the feed from friedcpu.net.

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Myspace: A place for friends. LinkedIN: A place for business. Facebook: What the hell IS this for?

So,  A *lot* of people have been ranting to me about how Facebook used to be cool and how the new applications have ruined it completely by inviting the Myspace crowd.  Well, haven taken a step back and looked at the problem, Facebook just sits in a confusing position right now.  Their target audience seems to be ‘everyone’, and that doesn’t work too well.  This is particularly bad for people in MY position as well. 

Firstly, I have a pretty sizable network of friends locally, JUST friends.  These local people aren’t my business contacts, people from an online community, or any such thing.  They’re just friends, and friends want to have fun.  So, of course I’m getting invites to “Pirates vs Ninjas”, “Horoscope”, “SuperPoke”, and any other number of applications on Facebook.  All of these people were former myspace users, and I’m part of the reason they switched to Facebook, my mistake.

On the other hand, I have another group of contacts.  I have my fellow FriedCPU writers, my connections from various art communities, my connections from the Ubuntu community, etc.  These are contacts that couldn’t care less if I choose to be a pirate or a ninja, they don’t care what music I’m listening to, and moreover they get annoyed when I have 500 app boxes on my profile stopping them from getting to some information that actually matters.

The current setup just makes it plain impossible to make both of these camps of users happy without setting up (and maintaining) two different Facebook accounts.  As it stands my friends are addicted to the apps and probably wouldn’t be in a big hurry to get back to Myspace, but my contacts would like them gone forever. 

I’m stuck in the middle of two clashing groups, and now I understand why these communities were supposed to be kept separate.  But, either way, my Facebook is going to be a more contact oriented tool for me in the future, along with my Twitter and Pownce accounts, etc.  I can’t wait ’till Myspace opens their platform so everyone can go back to their camps and live happily again.

Rant Over.  Flame On.

- Adam.

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Kevin Is No Longer In Prison But None of Us Are Free

I just finished Emmanuel Goldstein‘s (of 2600) film Freedom Downtime about the insanity surrounding Kevin Mitnick‘s incarceration. It’s difficult for me to express my disgust with the system to begin with, especially in our post-9/11 world, but this just rammed home the point that the insanity, the ignorance, the control and the fear didn’t begin with Bush, Cheney, the neoconservatives or Osama bin Laden. The film and Mitnick’s Wikipedia page can discuss what happened to  Kevin far better than I can, including the absurd claims of corporations like Motorola, Nokia, Sun and, everyone’s favorite these days, Novell (who claimed Kevin Mitnick cost them $75,000,000), his time in solitary confinement, his years of imprisonment before trial. Go watch this film. Buy the film, buy 2600 magazine, support the EFF and do what’s right.

The terrorist mythos has overshadowed the hacker mythos of the 1990s, but it’s hasn’t replaced it. Hackers, and indeed all citizens, can be considered terrorists, held without trial and, now, held without charge indefinitely.

I have to admit that I don’t have a particular “point” to this piece. I just felt the need to bring this film to the attention of our readership. If we don’t keep fighting we won’t have anything (rights) left to fight for.

***While formatting this I found a great commentary by Keith Olbermann on YouTube, responding to the signing of the Military Commissions Act of 2006.

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Hmm.. Do the IT folks question our sanity?

> Thanks for the awesome new printer, but I have one concern. It’s
> currently called ll-cube, which is fairly good naming. But now, before
> too many people are using it, is the last chance to give it a much
> better name. Can we rename it
> ll-cube-j? I mean really, the situation is just begging for it. This
> is a totally serious request. Let me know your thoughts.
>
> Don’t call it a comeback

ll-cube-j it is! :)

And there you have it — our local printer now responds to “LL-cube-j”

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I’m actually curious about this:

What do you do with your social network?

It’s a fairly simple question:  How has your social network site benefited you?  Has it added anything to your daily browsing life, made life more convenient, etc?

I’m actually interested in hearing about this, if you read this and don’t mind leaving me a comment please do. 

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Grsecurity & Ubuntu Feisty Server: Yay it’s working!

zsh in action

Grsecurity is a set of patches to the Linux 2.4 and 2.6 kernels that implements various security-oriented features such as stack randomization and permissions clamping to prevent common attacks against Linux systems from succeeding. I won’t go into an argument here about its effectiveness or its competitors, but I personally believe it’s a great defense barrier for public multiuser type systems.

Currently you must patch/compile manually, but that’s not the big roadblock… Sometimes turning hardening on too much will cause the system to fail to boot.

For Ubuntu, you need to disable CONFIG_COMPAT_VDSO in the kernel and possibly pass in “vdso=0″ to the kernel at bootup via grub config. Otherwise, you’ll get the dreaded everything-segfaults-and-dies phenomenon. It looks something like this:

Segmentation Fault
Segmentation Fault
Segmentation Fault
Segmentation Fault
Segmentation Fault
Segmentation Fault
Segmentation Fault
Segmentation Fault
Segmentation Fault
Segmentation Fault

You get the point….

Once that’s done, I have been able to bump security level to HIGH with no problems whatsoever. It also helps to turn off kernel debugging in general, to avoid ridiculous 208MB large kernel packages!

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The Del.icio.us lesson is absolutely right!

Putting the Del.icio.us Lesson into Practice, Part 1

I think this post is onto something.  Everyday we see more and more applications, sites, and services starting up that have absolutely no value to you unless you can convince your friends to join and stick with it.  This includes even my favorite sites, like Facebook.  Without my ‘network’ Facebook is useless to me.  I hope that any of you aspiring to build your own networks will keep ‘The Del.icio.us Lesson’ in mind when you start building.

Rant Over.  Flame On.

- Adam.

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