Author Archives: Justin

Google.ie HTTPS fail

Check out what happens when you visit https://www.google.ie/ : Clicking through Firefox’s ridiculous hoops gets me these dialogs: Good work, Google and Firefox respectively!

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Hack: reassassinate

A coworker today, returning from a couple of weeks holiday, bemoaned the quantities of spam he had to wade through. I mentioned a hack I often used in this situation, which was to discard the spam and download the 2 weeks of supposed-nonspam as a huge mbox, and rescan it all with spamassassin — since […]

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A Winner Is Me

Apparently, I’ve just won a 3 broadband dongle. Sweet! Thanks Pat! Now I need to recycle a mobile phone through the Jack and Jill Foundation to balance out the karma ;)

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If only this were true

Some people, when facing a problem, think “I’ll use regular expressions.” Now they have HORDES OF CUTE PEOPLE WANTING TO SLEEP WITH THEM — Yoz, on twitter

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Listening to music over wifi?

Hey lazyweb! Long time, no write. I’m wondering what setup people use to deal with the following situation. Upstairs, I have an Ubuntu 8.04 server with 71GB of MP3s. Downstairs, I have a stereo system. In between the two is a wireless network. How can I listen to the music downstairs, without simply copying the […]

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Recession Hits The Digital Depot

The Digital Depot is ‘an innovative, state-of-the-art building specifically designed to meet the needs of fast growing digital media companies […] developed as a joint initiative of Enterprise Ireland, Dublin City Council and The Digital Hub Development Agency.’ Generally, it’s a pretty nice place to work, and a great resource for startups and small tech […]

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Dumb eco-questions you were afraid to ask

New Scientist have a great article up this week entitled ‘Dumb eco-questions you were afraid to ask’, including: Q: Does switching from bus to bike really have any effect? After all, cycling isn’t completely carbon neutral because I’ve got to eat to fuel my legs. A: You are much better off cycling. A 12-kilometre round […]

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VisitWicklow.ie: Spammers

I think I just got my first spam from a government body! Specifically, VisitWicklow.ie spam from Wicklow County Tourism. It says: Wicklow County Tourism is launching its sparkling 2008 Christmas campaign this month, with an extensive festive section on our website www.visitwicklow.ie/xmas . Here you will find all the information you need about what is […]

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Déjà Joué

James Tauber just mentioned on Twitter: “is it bad that I just saw a photo of Stockholm and immediately recognized a stretch of road from PGR2, rather than when I was actually there?” This is something I’ve been thinking about recently. As game graphics improve, the realism levels become close enough to fool our brains […]

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IBM’s ZTIC

IBM Zone Trusted Information Channel (ZTIC) — ‘a banking server’s display on your keychain’. IBM has introduced the Zone Trusted Information Channel (ZTIC), a hardware device that can counter [malware attacks on online banking] in an easy-to-use way. The ZTIC is a USB-attached device containing a display and minimal I/O capabilities that runs the full […]

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Linux: It Just Works

Here’s a nice little (totally subjective!) story for Linux users. At home, I have a HP Laserjet 1018 printer; it’s a dinky little USB laser. When I was setting up my Mac running OSX, I attempted to use it. A common refrain from Mac users is that MacOS X just works — attempt to get […]

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The horror! the horror!

Dead Space came out last week, just in time for Hallowe’en. It’s a survival-horror first-person shooter, set in space: In the bold and often-bloody Dead Space, gamers step into a third-person sci-fi survival horror experience that delivers psychological thrills and gruesome action. Set in the cold blackness of deep space, the atmosphere is soaked with […]

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the on-demand Windows desktop

A few days ago, Amazon announced that they would be supporting Windows on EC2. IMO, you’d have to be mad to dream of running a server on that platform, so I was totally like “meh”. However, James Murty pointed out the perfect use case that I’d missed: Although I much prefer “Unixy” platforms for my […]

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Switch, ep. 3: revert!

So, that OSX thing. I’m afraid I’ve given up on the switch; I’m back on Linux. :( I got the keyboard mapping working, but Focus-Follows-Mouse and the couple of window-management hotkeys I rely on were impossible to work around. Focus-Follows-Mouse is emulated by iTerm, but every time you switch to an X11 app or to […]

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Bonuses for bankers: business as usual

Wall Street banks in $70bn staff payout: Financial workers at Wall Street’s top banks are to receive pay deals worth more than $70bn (£40bn) [equivalent to 10% of the US government bail-out package], a substantial proportion of which is expected to be paid in discretionary bonuses, for their work so far this year – despite […]

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Closed phish data costing $326mm per year

Richard Clayton posted a very interesting article over at Light Blue Touchpaper; he notes: Tyler Moore and I are presenting another one of our academic phishing papers today at the Anti-Phishing Working Group’s Third eCrime Researchers Summit here in Atlanta, Georgia. The paper “The consequence of non-cooperation in the fight against phishing” (pre-proceedings version here) […]

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solid Python queueing?

OK, message queueing has become insufferably trendy. You don’t need to tell me, I’ve known it’s the bees knees for 4 years now ;) The only problem is, there doesn’t seem to be a good queue broker written in Python. They’re in Java, Perl, more Perl, or Erlang, but a solid, reliable, persistent queueing backend […]

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Dublinr Exhibition

Dublin is a city that, photographically at least, can be reduced to a set of clichés, but a new exhibition offers a fresh, vibrant perspective of the Irish Capital. Dublinr is organised by a group of photographers that came together through the photo sharing website Flickr. The exhibition opens at 6.00pm on Wednesday 5 November, […]

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IWA post-mortem

I didn’t win a Web Award — but then, given the competition from a couple of very professional news organisations, I really wasn’t expecting to ;) Silicon Republic won, and rightly so. Good on ’em. I had a great night nonetheless, hanging out with Vishal, Walter (who won his category!), Conor O’Neill, Jason and a […]

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Want to eat on RTE’s HEAT?

Here’s an interesting offer — be a restaurant critic/reviewer for RTE’s cooking reality show, HEAT: Ireland’s top amateur chefs battle it out in our kitchen, each preparing a three course meal to impress the hardest critics; the paying diners. Mentored by Kevin Thornton and Kevin Dundon, these amateurs have a chance to shock or shine. […]

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Going to the Web Awards

So, the Irish Web Awards are happening on Saturday night — I’m booked and looking forward to it! Say “hi” if you’re there and spot my ugly mug ;)

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MPLC fail to shake down Irish playschools

Oh, the irony. According to The Sunday Times, a body called the Motion Picture Licensing Company sent letters to 2,500 Irish playschools (aka kindergartens), demanding payment for children watching DVDs on their premises — a fee of EUR 3, plus 17.5% VAT, per child per year: Playschools have been given an unexpected lesson on copyright […]

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Switch ep. 2: the keyboard

Well, some bits of this are easy: here’s a MacOS X version of GVim and Vim, which works nicely, is easy to install, and is simply vim/gvim. Great stuff! But some bits are harder. Remember I was complaining about that silly ± / § key in the top corner of UK/Irish MacBook Pro keyboards? Some […]

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Shortlisted for an Irish Web Award

Crazy! Somehow or other, this blog has made the shortlist for “Best Technology Site” at the Irish Web Awards 2008, up against TechCentral, Silicon Republic, Camara, and Robin Blandford’s ByteSurgery blog. I have no idea how this happened, given the quality of the sites I’m up against — two of them are even proper news […]

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My Trial Switch, ep. I

As previously noted, I’ve just bought myself a nice shiny MacBook Pro, to replace an old reliable 5-year-old Thinkpad T40, which ran Linux. Initially, I was contemplating installing Linux on this one too, and dual-booting. But right now, I’ve decided to give MacOS X a go — why not? I find it’s worthwhile updating aspects […]

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Longlisted!

Looks like I’ve been longlisted for Best Technology Site in the Irish Web Awards 2008, twice, both for taint.org and twit.ie. Cheers to whoever nominated me — I’m honoured!

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AWS event in Dublin’s Digital Hub

Brian Scanlan mailed me with this blurb, worth blogging for any AWS users in the Dublin area: Are you a software developer or IT professional working in the Dublin area? Would you like to learn more about Amazon Web Services? Amazon spent over ten years developing a world-class technology and content platform that powers Amazon […]

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Another POS skimming fraud in Galway

This is a little late, since I was off on holliers when it came to light — Galway News reports ‘hundreds hit by skimming scam’: The account details of shoppers who used credit or laser cards to pay for their groceries and other items in a number of Galway shops and supermarkets were illegally skimmed […]

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GoDaddy’s spam filter is broken

GoDaddy is rejecting mail with URLs that appear in the Spamhaus PBL. As this thread on the Amazon EC2 forum notes, this is creating false positives, causing nonspam mail to be rejected. Here’s what GoDaddy reportedly said about this policy: Unfortunately, our system is set to reject mails sent from or including links listed in […]

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The real reason cycling is such a pain in Dublin

Cian Ginty at the Irish Times writes: As clunky helmets, yellow reflective gear, and Lycra could be used as a stereotype for Irish cyclists, it might come as a surprise that women wearing high heels are a common sight on bicycles in Copenhagen. The general image of cycling here is vastly different to so-called bicycle […]

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How tightly linked are the top spam botnets?

I was away on holidays last week, and when I got back, I found my feed reader full of some good discussion as to whether today’s bigger spam botnets — Srizbi, Rustock, Mega-D, Cutwail/Pushdo — are sharing components, such as “landing” sites, exploits, customers, and even command and control networks. It started with this post […]

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My Omnivore’s 100

Here’s my results for The Omnivore’s Hundred, a silly foodie “purity test”. Bold are items I’ve eaten; crossed-out items are ones I wouldn’t eat again. I score 70 out of 100, and clearly need to eat less Asian and more European cuisine ;) VenisonNettle teaHuevos rancherosSteak tartareCrocodileBlack puddingCheese fondueCarpBorschtBaba ghanoushCalamariPhoPB&J sandwichAloo gobiHot dog from a […]

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Irish gang skims 20,000 bank cards through retail POS terminals

Wow, this is pretty massive. The Irish Payment Services Organisation has again released details of a credit-card breach, this time on retail Point-of-Sale card terminals. Quoting the Irish Examiner story: Una Dillon, head of card services at the Irish Payment Services Organisation, said the criminals went into the shops pretending to be doing maintenance work […]

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On Threading

Luis Villa, in a post to FoRK: I have found that [mail] threading is overrated, in part because I’ve realized that any conversation so baroque as to actually require threading probably isn’t worth following. Even though I wrote a threader for MH, I have to admit by now that he has a point ;)

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AppEngine — only useful for toys

Noted on Twitter: simonw: So apparently http://www.news.com.au/ used json-time for their Beijing countdown widget and blew my App Engine quota! They’ve stopped now. uh, great. That’s useful. Google — how are we supposed to host useful services with those limits?

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Aaaand we’re back

Due to unfortunate scheduling, taint.org had some downtime there as it moved to a new server. It’s back now though. Some of the other services running on taint.org, jmason.org, yerp.org, twit.ie, planet.spam.abuse.net and so on, are still intermittently offline as I bring them back up in their new home… so have patience, they’ll be back […]

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Neocon search terms

I’m back from a week in Cornwall. I’d like to say I was rested, but chasing after an 11-month-old baby in a caravan isn’t all that restful. Still, it was sunny, and good for a change of pace ;) Via b1ff.org, here’s the Nexis search that US Department of Justice White House liaisons ran on […]

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“Roommate” 419 Scam

Here’s an interesting form of advance fee fraud I hadn’t heard of before; it’s a good example of 419 scammers ruining yet another casual online marketplace. Let’s say you have a room you want to rent. You put up a “housemate wanted” ad on Craigslist or wherever. Here’s the the reply you’ll get: Hi There, […]

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Amazon EC2’s spam and malware problems

Over the past few weeks, I’ve increasingly heard of spam and abuse problems originating in Amazon EC2. This has culminated in a blog post yesterday by Brian Krebs at the Washington Post: It took me by surprise this weekend to discover that that mounds of porn spam and junk e-mail laced with computer viruses are […]

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