Sunday, November 8, 2015

It feels a bit like a kluge...

Ubuntu needs to get off of the dime and fix their encryption packages.

I've been using Keybase and have been happy with it.  I recently acquired a GnuPG smart card (v2.1).  The problem that I ran into was that I could not transfer my existing keys to the card because they're 2048-bit.  The current gpg and gpg2 tools refuse to upload anything larger than 1024-bit keys (though v2.1 of the card can handle them).

The work-around appears to be generating the keys on the card (e.g., "gpg2 --card-edit" followed by "generate").  Short version: I had to generate new keys.  The problem with this is that you basically have to destroy and rebuild your Keybase profile.  I spent about an hour doing this (pushing the public key to Keybase, re-validating all of my sites, updating keys on other servers, etc.).

Everything appears normal (fingers crossed).

What have I been reading this week? (20151108)


- NASA Study: Mass Gains of Antarctic Ice Sheet Greater than Losses
- How to Grok Higher Order Classes
- Victory for Users: Librarian of Congress Renews and Expands Protections for Fair Uses


- Did You Hear About How Scientists Discovered A Two Billion-Year-Old Nuclear Reactor In Gabon?
- The Able Archer War Scare Declassified PFIAB Report Released


- Eye Drops Could Clear Up Cataracts Using Newly Identified Chemical
- What We Owe the MythBusters
- The best way to learn math is to learn how to fail productively
- Why I started teaching people to write code Learn coding concepts


- One Last Ride With The Australian Outback's One-Man Police Force
- Leaked Comcast docs prove 300GB data cap has nothing to do with network congestion

Above was generated by a homegrown bolt-on script for Wallabag, which is a free utility for capturing web content so that it can be read later.

Sunday, November 1, 2015 breaking my stuff

I'm unhappy with the company, mostly because they appear to be going down the "we're connecting you to the cloud whether you like it or not" path that Cisco attempted a few years back.  I spent a few hours this afternoon, dealing with an upgrade that I didn't request.

Years ago, I acquired a RazBerry board for my Raspberry Pi.  It had a very cheesy web front-end that dealt with an unwieldy JSON back-end.  I found the front-end useful only when associating devices with the controller.  I primarily liked the back-end because it allowed me to write code to control the lights in my office (it's also part of my alarm clock).

The update comes with "improved" authentication which no longer works with wget's or curl's authentication mechanisms.  While the front end is much nicer, the upgrade breaks the lighting code that I've written/expanded over the years, including my keyboard controls, the alarm clock, and the turn-everything-off-in-2-minutes control which allows me to leave the room before the lights go out.

If you want to recover the old capabilities, following are the steps I used to roll back the server code (as root, on the RPi):

1) run "/etc/init.d/z-way-server stop"
2) run "cd /opt"
3) run "mv z-way-server old-server"
4) get v1.3.1 of the server from by running:
5) run "tar xvfz z-way-server-RaspberryPiXTools-v1.3.1.tgz"
6) run "/etc/init.d/z-way-server start"
7) point your browser at: http://serverIP:8083/index.html to see if the server is running.  Note: if you point it at only: http://serverIP:8083/ it will auto-forward to http://serverIP:8083/smarthome and complain about not being able to find a file.

After I performed the above, my scripts started working again.