A painting of me

Where are all the Ladies?

   31 July 2008, mid-morning

I was talking to Tyler about Ruby Fringe yesterday: apparently it was a crazy success. I’m still disappointed I didn’t crash their last party. I did have some of their left over beer last night on the roof of their office, so I guess that’s something. People are going on about the conference like it was Woodstock. The fact they aren’t planning on doing another conference may mean it will end up developing the sort of mythos that surrounds Woodstock. At least amongst super-nerds like myself.

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Inbox Zero

   29 July 2008, early morning

Matt recently wrote about how he uses the Inbox Zero method to manage his email. The general idea is that you don’t use your email inbox as a dumping ground for all the emails you need to deal with. You can read all about Inbox Zero on Merlin Mann’s web site. Like Matt I find the system works pretty well.

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   3 July 2008, early morning

Tyler and Matt were laughing at me when I told them most of my music is saved as AAC files. It’s the reason my Muxtape is a bit lacking. I decided on this format a long time ago, after soliciting the opinions of my friends. AAC struck me as the format of the future, it being superior to the MP3 format and all. Reading what I had written then, I was working under the assumption that ACC would become as ubiquitous as MP3s. One day. Till then you can listen to RZA’s muxtape.


Ruby & Python

   9 May 2008, early morning

Tyler mentioned on his blog, in passing, that one reason he likes jQuery more than Prototype is that the formers syntax is a bit object-oriented.

prototype has syntax which strikes me as antithetical to OO principals. for example, Element.hide(‘comments’) instead of $(’#comments’).hide().

I was thinking about the above while writing some Python code at work. I now prefer Ruby to Python, but it took a little while for me to warm up to Ruby. Ruby has a very terse syntax, and there is a lot of room in the language to write programs that look like that are composed of magic and pixie dust. (This is especially true when you look at Rails code.) Once you have written a few programs in Ruby it is a bit easier to see what’s up: where people have decided to leave brackets off, etc. Ultimately I prefer Ruby because if I want to know how long a list is, I can do so as follows: [1,2,3].length(). In Python, the same task is accomplished as follows: len([1,2,3]). The later just seems ass-backwards to me now.

(Python’s object-oriented programming support seems pretty half-assed, but I’m no expert in the language so my opinions of it may stem from my ignorance more than anything else. Still, what’s with all the self parameters. And __init__? Come on, you can do better than that.)

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Startup Camp Toronto

   30 April 2008, early morning

Shima and I sorted out wedding rings in the afternoon. She left for Karate, and I left for the Carlu. I was out with some of the Well.ca boys and girls yesterday night. Ali, Alex, and Chris were in town for Startup Camp North. They chose the event to launch Startup Index, a project they are working on along with the guys from Startup North. And I use the term ‘they’ loosely, since as far as I can tell, Chris does all the work. (Oh Snap!) I always feel a bit out of place when I go to events like this. At the Rails Pubnite, people always gave me this look of both disappointment and sympathy when I told them: a) I had a job b) writing C++ code c) for a company that hasn’t been a startup for a very long time. At this event, people assumed I worked at Well.ca, since that is who I was sitting with … and then I would correct them, and you could see that glimmer of disappointment. Of course, that didn’t last long, because Ali would inform them that I’m a Ruby guru, or a Rails master. I suppose that’s not a total lie, but it’s pretty close. That said, I’m going to have to start introducing myself as, “Ramanan: Ruby Master,” from now on. I think you just need to say stuff like that enough and it becomes true. Well.ca is the biggest online pharmacy in the world. Or it will be anyway.

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NetNewsWire, FeedDemon and NewsGator.

   14 January 2008, mid-afternoon

There are three things I really like about GoogleReader: all your unread entries appear on one page; when you scroll past an entry it is marked as read; your reading history — read vs. unread stories — is always up to date since the application is hosted online. Any feed reading application that doesn’t beat GoogleReader at these three things really isn’t worth using.

NetNewsWire is awesome. First off, it’s fast — oh so fast — and works incredibly well. It has the single page view that GoogleReader has, and it also can be set to mark stuff as read as you scroll past it. I have it set up so that clicking on links opens pages up background; pressing the right arrow will open the news item you are reading in the background as well. This way, when you are done reading your feeds you can switch to your web browser to look over the links you thought were most interesting. NetNewsWire is by far the best newsreader I’ve used. I like it a lot more than GoogleReader. Sadly, all is not well in the world. NetNewsWire’s biggest fault doesn’t lie with the program itself, but with the cruft it is forced to play with: Newsgator’s online service, and FeedDemon.

FeedDemon is a RSS newsreader for Windows. Like NetNewsWire it is owned by NewsGator, and the two programs can be kept in sync using Newsgator’s online service. As far as I can tell, FeedDemon is a pile of junk. It is slow — oh so damn slow. GoogleReader running inside Firefox works much better. Worse still, there seems to be no way to view all your unread feeds on one page — I’d even settle for an easy way to view each unread article one after another. Reading feeds in FeedDemon is a slow cumbersome process.

NewsGator’s online service is also incredibly lacking when compared to GoogleReader. In my opinion it works better then FeedDemon, but that isn’t saying much. You can view all your unread posts on a page, but unlike GoogleReader, it paginates them if there are too many unread items. (NetNewsWire also paginates your news items into multiple pages, but it will automatically switch to the next page when you get to the bottom of the current page.) NewsGator also doesn’t mark stories as read when you scroll past them: you can set it to mark everything as read when the news page loads up — this is how Bloglines used to work — or when you click a ‘mark all as read’ button. The site is slower than GoogleReader to boot.

NetNewsWire is so nice to use I’ve been putting up with FeedDemon and NewsGator for the past few days. I’m not sure how long I can keep this up.

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Lame Philanthropy

   24 October 2007, early evening

I bought the PeepCode Rails Code Review eBook a few days back. It was a very impulsive decision. The eBook was $9, which isn’t much money in the grand scheme of things, and it seemed kind of cool. There was a time when I thought paying for an electronic book was the dumbest thing someone could do — I mean, really, it’s electronic, there’s nothing there. Actually, I still do feel that way to some extent, but I see buying this eBook differently: I think I’ve reached a point where I see purchases like this as some sort of budget philanthropy on my part. I think I’m willing to make the purchase because in my head I picture some dude trying to buy an iPhone or a new hard drive and I feel for them. I thought about all this while I bought TaskPaper a few moments ago. I’m hoping I use it a lot, but if I don’t, it really doesn’t bother me too much. I feel good making the purchase.

[ed. I was going to title this post “Why I have no money.”]

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Ruby on Rails at the Rhino Bar

   16 October 2007, mid-morning

I met Tyler at the Rhino Bar last night. Martini Boys informed me that, “When you walk into The Rhino you think, ‘I might get my ass kicked in this place’ — not a sentiment many Toronto bars inspire these days.” I love sketchy ass bars, so this sounded like it’d be my kind of place; sadly, when I arrived I wasn’t greeted by any lonely old men nursing pitchers by themselves. I guess Martini Boys hasn’t been back to the Rhino Bar recently. Parkdale just isn’t what it used to be. (Well, the drinks were still cheap, so that’s something.)

The monthly Ruby on Rails Pubnite was being held at the Rhino Bar. I’ve been meaning to go for ages, despite the fact I don’t actually do anything with Ruby on Rails. Tyler wanted to check it out: he knows a bunch of the people in that community, and, you know, actually works with Ruby on Rails. (Aside: an interesting Tyler comment from 2005.) It was far busier than I had thought it would be.

The Toronto Rails crowd are a friendly group of people. I ended up chatting with a couple people from Unspace, a couple people from Kaboose, a fellow from FreshBooks, and finally Rishi’s friend Constantine (it was strange seeing him there). If you are even remotely interested in Ruby on Rails is probably worth coming out to the Pubnite. It’s a very informal and relaxed environment. It’s easy to pop into conversations. When you stop to consider that the Ruby on Rails Pubnite caters to the geek crowd, this is a pretty amazing feat.

The whole experience makes me want to learn Rails.

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In Rainbows

   11 October 2007, late morning

Homer: Eh, what do you mean by `suggested donation’?
Clerk: Pay any amount you wish, sir.
Homer: And uh, what if I wish to pay … zero?
Clerk: That is up to you.
Homer: Ooh, so it’s up to me, is it?
Clerk: Yes.
Homer: I see. And you think that people are going to pay you $4.50 even though they don’t have to? Just out of the goodness of their… [laughs] Well, anything you say! Good luck, lady, you’re gonna need it!

I’m listening to Radiohead’s new album as I type this. This is the first of their albums I’ve bought.

Read the rest of this post. (709 words)

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The Ram and Shima Pod Cast

   25 September 2007, mid-morning

I’m listening to John Gruber and Dan Benjamin ramble on about getting their wisdom teeth out. It’s time for a rambling-ass Shima and Ram podcast.

cue intro music
Ram: So last night I cleaned the bathroom.
Shima: Oh yeah, you totally did.
R: We need more of that powered bleach cleaner stuff.
S: I think you can buy it at food basics. Maybe are listeners can recommend some places. Listeners, you can email us your bleach suggestions at rambling@funkaoshi.com
R: That powered bleach really makes my hands feel weird. I should use gloves.
S: You don’t use gloves? Ram!
R: Yeah, you know how it is. Gloves get all wet and gross on the inside. Or maybe that’s all in my head.
S: Ram!
R: Lets take some viewer mail. Dave writes, “How long can you too ramble on about nothing?” Well Dave, pretty damn long i’d say.
S: I gave cut eye to the men standing in front of Club Paradise last night.
R: You love doing that, eh?
S: Yes. It’s the only way they’ll learn.
R: Its true.
and 45 minutes later cue outro music

Shima seems to find all the cool podcasts. I don’t have so much luck. The Talk Show isn’t as bad as I make it sound. It’s very much like morning radio. I also like how the show just starts with them talking: no annoying lead-in music is a big plus. It’s just too all over the place for my liking. And episode 10 is an hour long? Come on dudes. (Update: Actually, now 40 minutes in, I suppose it is strangely engaging.)

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John Gruber Writes About David Maynor -- Again

   21 September 2007, early afternoon

John Gruber has written what I assume will be his last post on the David Maynor Apple WiFi exploit story. Maynor has finally published a paper on the exploit, which outlines a kernel panic he found. I think Gruber’s criticism of Maynor back during the summer of 2006 was spot on. There were so many ways Maynor could have proven he had an exploit without disclosing too much information, yet he didn’t choose to pursue any of them. That’s his prerogative I suppose.

Let’s say I tell you I have in my pocket a frog that can recite the entire alphabet. You doubt it, and ask me to show you. I refuse. You ask me to show it to a trusted third party. I refuse.

A year later, I show you a frog who can recite the alphabet. That’s certainly something. But it doesn’t prove I had the frog in my pocket a year ago.

This post is a bit too bitter. The implication that Maynor didn’t have a working exploit back in 2006 doesn’t seem fair. The idea that he’s been sitting at home trying to exploit an out of date version of MacOS X seems a bit off to me. You don’t get props for exploiting out of date operating systems. He also really has no reason to lie now. He didn’t seem all too bothered by the criticism leveled against him over the past year or so. It also doesn’t seem to have effected his standing in the security community. Though the Mac community may have felt he had something to prove, judging by his actions since 2006 he certainly didn’t feel this was the case.

Maynor said that he had been under a nondisclosure agreement, which had previously prevented him from publishing details of the hack. The security researcher wouldn’t say who his NDA was with, but that agreement is no longer in force, allowing him to talk about the exploit. “I published it now because I can publish it now,” he said.

This strikes me as the most reasonable reason for Maynor’s silence. It is possible Maynor wanted to make everyone crazy, and so decided the best course of action was to say he had an exploit, and then shut up. (That the story was as big as it was back in 2006 — a story about an exploit that didn’t exist — does in fact say a lot about the mac community and the way people react to criticism. In 2006 Maynor had basically proven nothing, yet people wouldn’t stop talking about him.)

If Maynor didn’t have a working exploit back in 2006, I imagine it would relate to the following point:

Worth pointing out: Maynor’s paper describes an attack that leads to a kernel panic. He claims it can be exploited to instead inject code and, rather than crash, take over the machine — but this is not described in the paper.

While it is true that Maynor’s paper only describes an attack that leads to a kernel panic, it also discusses in a fair amount of detail how to proceed if you want to inject code. It’s possible Maynor had figured out how to get a kernel panic, but not a full exploit. However, reading the paper, it doesn’t seem like going from the panic to the exploit is too tricky. (Of course, I don’t really know that much about this sort of thing. Patrick can probably say more on the topic.)

The most promising avenue for getting execution can be found in a function named ath_copy_scan_results. This function uses the fields that are overwritten to copy memory.

As an initial test, the author overwrote every function pointer in the structure with a pattern such as 0×61413761 (or aA7a in ASCII, which is the typical Metasploit buffer padding pattern). A crash dump with an error message about failing to execute code at a bad address like 0×61413761 proves that remote code execution is theoretically possible.

As Gruber himself said:

This entire saga boils down to one simple question: Have Maynor and Ellch discovered a vulnerability against MacBooks using Apple’s built-in AirPort cards and drivers?

The answer looks to be yes, but as of today this is really only of interest in an academic sense.

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Switching to IMAP

   29 August 2007, late at night

You may recall that I was using GMail as a way to read and reply to email all over the place. I had 1&1 (and then Dreamhost) forward all my email to a GMail account, as well as storing it for download via POP3. GMail lets you send emails as if they were from another account, so this worked well enough, but it was far from perfect. Emails I sent from the GMail web interface were stuck on Google’s servers unless I forwarded them to myself. Related to this, people started emailing me directly at this dummy GMail address. The dummy GMail account was supposed to be a mirror of my actual email account, but this wasn’t the case. Finally, I like using desktop applications. As nice as GMail is, I still find it slow and kludgey. This convoluted set-up existed because 1&1 didn’t support IMAP properly — or at all, as far as I could tell; Dreamhost, on the other hand, does.

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Could not open a connection to your authentication agent.

   28 August 2007, mid-morning

SSH private-keys are usually stored encrypted on the computers they are stored on. A pass-phrase is used to decrypt them when they are to be used. Since most people use SSH public-private key-pairs to get around typing in passwords all the time, the ssh-agent daemon exists to store decrypted private-keys you plan on using in a given session. The thing most people get tripped up on when using ssh-agent is that what the program outputs, some borne or csh shell commands, needs to be run. It may look like ssh-agent has set some variables for you, but it has in fact done no such thing. If you call ssh-add without processing ssh-agent’s output, it will complain it is unable to open a connection to your authentication agent. The most straightforward way to run ssh-agent on the command line is as follows: eval `ssh-agent`. After doing this, calls to ssh-add should succeed without error.

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My Delicious Library

   19 August 2007, the wee hours

I bought Delicious Library a good while ago, but put off importing all my books into the damn program till today. It was about half way though the scanning process that I realized the best way to scan stuff with the iSight is to pass the barcode over the faux-scanner bars moving from the top to the bottom. When I started doing this, the program did a much better job of scanning things. Now that I have everything in this system, i’ll hopefully be able to track my DVDs a bit better. (Right now, my system of emailing random people asking if they have my DVDs works, but I don’t think that scales well.) I have way more books than DVDs, but I don’t really lend them out. (I’m sort of neurotic about my books.) Sadly, Delicious Library actually doesn’t let you do too much interesting stuff with the data it collects. Its a very bare bones application. Version 2 has been in the works for what feels like ages. Hopefully it is a worthwhile upgrade. (I suspect it will be.) As it stands, Delicious Library is essentially a really slick list. Still, sometimes that’s enough.

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Toronto on Flickr

   25 July 2007, evening time

Yahoo Pipes

Using Yahoo Pipes to Filter and Merge Flickr Photostreams

As far as I can tell, Flickr doesn’t make it particularly easy to view all the photos in the various groups you have joined. At a minimum, you need to browse each group’s photostream. A somewhat better solution is to subscribe to these photostreams via an RSS feed. Even then, there is the problem of seeing the same photo multiple times because it has been posted to several groups you subscribe to. (For example, I shared this photograph I took of Shima with the BlogTO, Torontoist, Toronto, Toronto Photobloggers, and I Shoot Film Flickr Groups.) If I subscribed to all 5 feeds via RSS, I’d see the same image 5 times. (And obviously I’d see the same image 5 times if I was surfing the Flickr website.) This is far from ideal. BlogTO and Torontoist in particular get cross-posted to all the time. Presumably lots of people, like myself, read both sites. I wanted a way to view the photostreams of both sites, but filtered so i’d only see unique photos.

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Flickr now censoring all moderate and restricted photos from Germany.

   14 June 2007, lunch time

Are Flickr users the whiniest group of people on the Internet? Right now there is a Flickr uprising because if you are in Germany photos that have been marked “unsafe” are being censored, regardless of what your preferences are. People are bitching and moaning about their rights to freedom of speech being trampled by that most evil of companies Flickr. (Maybe these people are using a different Flickr than I have been?) People need to get over themselves. This isn’t some freedom of speech issue: If you want to post a photo of your naked ass online, you can do so — is someone compelling you to do it on Flickr? Worse still, the way people are bitching and moaning is to spam Flickr with these “stop censoring us” images. If you actually want to protest this decision, spamming Flickr isn’t the way to do it: leave Flickr, tell your friends to leave Flickr, and then laugh at Yahoo for loosing you and your friends as a valuable customer. There is a part of me that doesn’t want to use Flickr because it’s user base is so damn annoying. People don’t even know what’s going on, but they instantly bust out their pitch forks and start bitching about censorship.

Oh, and it wouldn’t be an official Flickr scandal if Thomas Hawk didn’t post about how Flickr sucks. For a guy that claims he loves Flickr so damn much he certainly loves to get his hate on. What a wanker.

Update: I shit you not, someone just posted a photo of the gates to Auschwitz in the lets all bitch about Flickr thread, because, you know, this scandal is exactly the same as the fucking Holocaust.

Update: Heather Champ responds on page 16 of the thread. Apparently at issue are German age verification laws. Because the German version of Flickr is being operated by Yahoo Germany, they are subject to these laws, apparently.

[ed. I made this link into a full post because I was so annoyed.]

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Grado SR60 and AKG K26P headphones

   31 May 2007, early morning

I have two pairs of headphones that I am quite fond of: a pair of Grado SR60s, and a pair of AKG K26Ps. They are both nice headphones, each in their own way. I bought the Grado headphones first, and they definitely are the better of the two in terms of sound quality. The problem with the SR60s is that they are open-air headphones, which means they bleed a bit of noise when the volume is up. This doesn’t make them ideal for work, which is why I ultimately replaced them with the AKG headphones. The K26Ps are smaller, sealed, and sound pretty good for the price. I’ve been using the K26Ps for a long time now, and think they are definitely worth getting if you need something small and discreet to listen to music while at work. Krishna bought a pair and quite liked them — till he broke them anyway. They are a bit fragile. Shima is going to be borrowing my AKGs while she works for the summer, so maybe she will chime in with her opinions on them later this week. I’m back to listening to music on my SR60s. I had forgot how awesome these headphones are. I think my Shuffle doesn’t do them justice.

Some buying advice: don’t buy Grado headphones in Canada: they are sold at a ridiculous markup. Your best bet is to buy them in the US — especially since the Canadian dollar is so strong right now. I bought mine from Headroom, and shipped them to my cousin who was coming to visit us. The AKG K26P can be bought at most nice stereo shops in the city. I bought mine from Bay Bloor Radio. One of the ladies working their complimented me on my Dragon Beard shoes.

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Compact Flash Woes

   25 May 2007, early morning

I used dd, something I’ve never done before, to clone my fucked up compact flash card. This is something I normally wouldn’t do, but I saw instructions on how to do it, and it seemed like a good idea. I then proceeded to try and resurrect my card. Most programs for OS X seem to suck at doing this. One program looked like it was going to fix all my problems, but it couldn’t stop crashing. It would scan about half of the card before giving up spectacularly. And after a few tries, the program stopped finding any photos at all. Some how the card had got even more futzed up. God damn it. I need to dump the clone I made of the compact flash card back on to the card itself, and try once again. I’m thinking i’ll need to look at programs for XP that do this: I was thoroughly unimpressed with all the OS X offerings. Lexar (who make my compact flash card) also have software for recovering photos, but I stupidly threw away the disks that came with my card. (After all, when would I ever need to recover photos from a messed up CF card. Damn it Ram.)

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Firewire 400 vs. USB 2.0

   2 March 2007, late morning

I had told Dave a week or two ago that he should get a USB 2.0 enclosure for a hard drive, since they are cheaper and a bit faster than Firewire enclosures. It turns out I was only half right. Firewire 400, despite being a bit slower than USB 2.0 in theory, out performs it on the Mac by a healthy margin. (This is also true on the PC apparently.) For external storage, Firewire is still the way to go. I had always assumed USB 2.0 was faster, hence its popularity. I should have known better: popularity rarely correlates to not being stank.

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Bye-Bye Flickr Logins

   31 January 2007, mid-morning

Flickr is going to start making people log in with Yahoo IDs starting on March 15th. I have been doing so since I bought a flickr pro account, a little over a year ago. It seemed like as good a time as any to make the switch. People can get pretty passionate about stuff like this. It’s interesting to see the attachment people form for a login name and password. I imagine the fact they have to trade in their Flickr login for a Yahoo one doesn’t make the transition any better. A lot of people have issues with Yahoo. I would argue sentimentality is the only legitimate reason to hold a grudge here; since the Yahoo acquisition, the service at Flickr has only gotten better. You get more for your money now than you did before. And, as far as I can tell, the community around Flickr remains the same. You just need to make it past the initial hurdle of making a stupid Yahoo ID then its smooth sailing. I don’t think there will be any lasting backlash from this whole thing. People have known that they would need to switch to Yahoo logins for well over a year now. That won’t stop people from freaking out mind you.

Update: Anil Dash is OK with all these changes, and wonders why people are freaking out. (Maybe he browses a different Internet than I do.) Two Flickr competitors are out of the gates trying to steal users: The Dark Side of the Flickr Acquisition, Flickr News Today Sucks. I can’t imagine there are any users who are so distraught at having to get a Yahoo ID they’re going to leave Flickr behind. There is even a pretty crap MetaFilter thread on this non-event.

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Unpacking My MOO Flickr MiniCards

   3 October 2006, early morning

MOO is a company that makes tiny business cards that feature photos from your Flickr stream. I ordered a free 10-pack of cards from them as part of a promotion they ran to announce the service. They gave away 10,000 cards (in sets of 10) to Flickr Pro users.

The cards arrived today. They came in a small envelope. Inside the envelope was a colourfull card, with a little slot that contained the 10 cards I ordered.

On the back of the card was a short message explaining what the cards were all about.

The first card was a message indicating I was MOO’s new best friend. Nice.

The cards are on thick slices of cardboard. The prints aren’t bad; they look like the sort of thing a fancy ink-jet printer might produce. Some prints turned out quite nice, but for several the colours seem a bit flat, and the contrast a bit lacking.

The back of the card can be customized with a short message of your choice. These could make neat calling cards. You can order a set of 100 cards for $20 USD. This sounds pricey for small business cards, but then again they look cool and don’t require any design effort whatsoever on your part.

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All about a Ruby on Rails security flaw

   10 August 2006, early afternoon

A serious security breach was found in the source code for Ruby on Rails. The core team announced as much, and suggested (strongly) that everyone running a Rails application upgrade immediately. The disclosure of a serious bug and a quick fix are good things. However, the Rails team felt that the bug was so serious they shouldn’t inform the community about its details; this doesn’t make too much sense.

Rails is an open source framework; the source code is available for everyone to see. When you tell everyone that version X of your software has a flaw, but version Y doesn’t, and you let people read both versions X and Y of your source code, it doesn’t take too long for people to see what was changed between versions X and Y. In fact, in this particular case it didn’t take too long at all.

So what did the Rails team gain by not disclosing the details of the bug? As far as I can tell, nothing. Since they didn’t announce what prior versions were affected by this bug, some system administrators may have patched servers that didn’t need to be patched, wasting their time and resources. That’s actually a pretty big deal. More so, the sort of people that are going to be writing scripts to “hack” Rails applications are the sorts of people that will probably know enough to run code>diff.

This is being discussed in the comments in the announcement thread, its follow-up, and in the Ruby on Rails forums. Apparently the bug still effects some systems.

Update: The Rails team discloses everything in their latest post on this topic.


WWDC 2006

   8 August 2006, terribly early in the morning

I spent the whole day with Shima and had a very lovely time. I had so nice a time in fact that I completely forget that the WWDC was taking place! I certainly missed a lot. Apple announced the Mac Pro, which is using Intel’s Xeon (64-bit) processor. Apple’s now moved their entire line over to Intel chips; the transition was much faster than I suspect most people thought it would be. Apple also announced some of the feature’s we’ll see in the upcoming version of Mac OS X (Leopard). Kottke’s got an open thread on the WWDC. He sounds less then impressed with what was announced for the next version of OS X. I would agree it is a bit lackluster, though some of the things announced look pretty cool: the remote desktop sharing with iChat, the new backup system, and the inline to-do stuff in Mail all seem pretty neat. If you are bored, or geeky, you can watch the Jobs’ keynote address in its entirity.

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TextMate Tech Support

   21 March 2006, terribly early in the morning

I wrote the previous entry on Serenity from within TextMate. TextMate has this feature which lets you edit text from any textbox in a Cocoa application as if it were just some document on your computer. When you save the text and close the TextMate window, you get sent back to the original application, and your text is inside the textbox you were editing. When it works, it’s pretty cool. However, my first attempt to use the service didn’t go so smoothly. I lost my first post on Serenity because the tab I was editing was no longer “in focus”. I hoped on IRC to see if anyone in the ##textmate channel could help me out.

[11:24pm] funkaoshi: hey. do any of you guys know where Textmate stores its temp files when you use the “Edit in Textmate” command?
[11:26pm] allan: funkaoshi: somewhere in /var/tmp/$UID.folders/TemporaryItems/TextMate I believe
[11:27pm] funkaoshi: let me check thanks
[11:28pm] funkaoshi: Allan: did you know that if you remove focus from a safari tab, and then try to save the document you are editing, it doesn’t work? (though it does beep to let you know it didn’t save.)
[11:29pm] allan: funkaoshi: yes… I put a note about it in the install text
[11:29pm] allan: not explicitly Safari, but the “focus” thing

I asked a question in the TextMate IRC channel at 11:24 PM, and got a response 5 minutes later. Now that is tech-support people.

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   15 March 2006, lunch time

A few days shy of it’s license running out—again—I decided to buy Textmate. This was probably the third or forth time I gave the editor a shot. Buying a Textmate license at this point puts me about as far from the cutting edge as you can possibly get; most everyone and their mother decided Textmate was cool well over a year ago. Me, i’m just a little slow I suppose.

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