codeblog code is freedom — patching my itch

12/25/2006

2006 recommended reading

Filed under: Blogging,Ubuntu — kees @ 10:45 am

It’s not quite the end of the year yet, but here are Kirsten’s top 6 books from 2006:

  1. The Great Influenza: The Epic Story of the Deadliest Plague in History The Great Influenza
  2. The Devil in the White City:  Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America The Devil in the White City
  3. Cloud Atlas: A Novel Cloud Atlas
  4. The Fortress of SolitudeThe Fortress of Solitude
  5. It's Superman!: A Novel It’s Superman!
  6. Welcome to Our Hillbrow Welcome to Our Hillbrow

(Also, figured this would be a good test of the WP plugin for Amazon, which is very handy. I’m going to see if I can patch it to hook things to my blog roll “Reading” category.)

© 2006, Kees Cook. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License.
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12/13/2006

silly things to do with unicode

Filed under: Blogging,Ubuntu,Web — kees @ 12:37 pm

˙ǝɓuɐɹʇs ʎɹǝʌ ʍoH

‮Unicode is so odd.

© 2006, Kees Cook. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License.
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12/9/2006

frozen-bubble handicapping

Filed under: Blogging,Ubuntu — kees @ 10:32 am

At UDS, I learned that I am a poor frozen-bubble player. After getting repeated trounced by pitti, I decided I had to find some way to level the playing field. I was my own worst enemy due to my bad aim, but all the malus (as in, the opposite of bonus) balls were clearly causing me greater pain. I wrote a patch that creates a new key binding “b” to toggle the blocking of malus balls. Using this made things a little more even, and after a week of practice, I was a much better player (and quit using my cheat).

Since frozen-bubble depends on a shared game state between all players, everyone will notice if you’re using a mod like that, since they will just queue up on your malus post:

malus blocking

So be sure you’re playing with people you know. :)

© 2006, Kees Cook. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License.
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12/7/2006

paranoid browsing with squid

Filed under: Security,Ubuntu — kees @ 11:40 pm

As Carthik says, the SSH SOCKS option is a great way to quickly tunnel your web traffic. A word of caution for the deeply paranoid: all your DNS traffic is still in the clear. While the web traffic and URLs aren’t sniffable any more, curious people can still get a sense for what kinds of stuff you’re browsing, based on domain names. (And for the really really paranoid: if you’re on open wireless, your DNS lookups could get hijacked, causing you to browse to look-alike sites ready to phish your login credentials.)

Luckily, with SOCKS5 Firefox can control which side of the proxy handles DNS lookups. By default, it does the lookups locally resulting in the scenario above. To change this, set network.proxy.socks_remote_dns = true in about:config. This makes the SOCKS proxy more like a regular proxy, where DNS is handled by the remote end of the tunnel.

Update: Oops, as the title hints, I was going to talk about Squid. But then I didn’t. It’s pretty cool too. Carry on…

© 2006, Kees Cook. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License.
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filtering email body URLs with whois

Filed under: Networking,Ubuntu — kees @ 10:21 pm

I use SURBL filtering for my inbound email. It’s very handy except when my domain receives the leading edge of a new spam campaign. Whenever spam with a URL got through the filters, I’d go look it up and discover that it was added to the block lists about 20 minutes after I got the email. I’d think to myself, “dang, if only I had greylisted that email”.

Well, I got to thinking: all the URL-based spam campaigns have one thing in common: the domains they’re spamming have been recently registered. So now I greylist any email whose body contains a recently registered domain in a URL. It gets delayed just long enough that the SURBLs catch up, and when it is finally reattempted, it gets permanently rejected. Unfortunately, I have not found a common API for querying the registrars for a domain’s creation date, so I wrote an insane script to make a best-effort guess:

$ ./whois-created kernel.org 2>/dev/null
‘kernel.org’ created on: 1997-03-07
$ ./whois-created outflux.net 2>/dev/null
‘outflux.net’ created on: 2000-03-17
$ ./whois-created hosteije.net 2>/dev/null
‘hosteije.net’ created on: 2006-12-01

Any URLs with kernel.org or outflux.net I’d let through, but I’d greylist anything mentioning hosteije.net (which is now listed on the SURBLs).

Most of my email filtering is based on some heavily modified MIMEDefang code (which handles hooking to my script and doing the greylisting), but I’m figuring this sort of thing should live in some optional routine in SpamAssassin so more people can benefit.

© 2006, Kees Cook. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License.
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12/4/2006

OSDL drops staff coders

Filed under: General — kees @ 10:33 pm

News clippings about OSDL‘s RIF:

Two months ago, I jumped on a fantastic opportunity and took a job with Canonical (leaving OSDL none too soon, it seems). I’m disappointed that OSDL laid off so many of my friends. I had been visiting the office on and off so I could continue to participate in the daily lunchtime board games. It’s the end of an era.

Games played during lunch:

© 2006, Kees Cook. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License.
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