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What is the Significance of Tiny PCBs?

A PCB board with drawings of the wires

It’s a common refrain that our electronics are always getting smaller. While there may be some up-and-down fluctuation between one phone release and the next, the broader trend is clear: From speakers, to laptops, to home appliances, we can pack a lot more power into a lot less space these days.

This trend leads to some near-fantastical speculation about where tech can go from here. For instance, Quartz posted about limits in processing power back in 2017, and speculated that light could be built into processing chips as a substitute for what we’d now think ...

Don't Repeat Yourself When Writing Software

Nature tends to repeat itself, or reproduce with similar structure, but code should not.

For a very long time now, we have been using languages that support having functions that one can call. That was not always the case, although even really old versions of BASIC had a GOSUB instruction, which it had no concept of local variables so it was rather difficult to use safely.

Functions allow you to avoid repetition. You write a small snippet of code (or maybe not that small) within a function and then you call that function to reuse that snippet over and over again. Good programmers tend to do that even with one liners. However, many others often think: well, it's just one line, why don't I return copy & paste that wherever I need it, it's going to be faster.

Docker, an advanced chroot utility

Chasm—just like a Docker creates a chasm between two sets of software


Before installing Docker and containers with services on your Linux system, make sure to read and understand the risks as mentioned on this Docker and iptables page. Especially, Docker will make all your containers visible to the entire world through your Internet connection. This is great if you want to indeed share that service with the rest of the world, it's very dangerous if you are working on that container service since it could have security issues that need patching and such. Docker documents a way to prevent that behavior by adding the following rule to your firewall:

iptables -I DOCKER-USER -i eth0 ! -s -j DROP

This means that unless the IP address matches, the access is refused. The `eth0` interface name should be replaced with the interface name you use as the external ethernet connection. During development, you should always have such a rule.

That has not worked at all for me because my local network includes many other computers on my LAN and this rule blocks them all. So really not a useful idea.

Instead, I created my own entries based on some other characteristics. That includes the following lines in my firewall file:

:DOCKER-USER - [0:0]

-A DOCKER-USER -j early_forward
-A DOCKER-USER -i eno1 -p tcp -m conntrack --ctorigdstport 80 --ctdir ORIGINAL -j DROP
-A DOCKER-USER -i eno1 -p tcp -m conntrack --ctorigdstport 8080 --ctdir ORIGINAL -j DROP
-A DOCKER-USER -i eno1 -p tcp -m conntrack --ctorigdstport 8081 --ctdir ORIGINAL -j DROP

My early_forward allows my LAN to continue to work. These are my firewall rules that allow my LAN computers to have their traffic forwarded as expected.

Then I have three rules that block port 80, 8080, and 8081 from Docker.

Docker will add new rules that will appear after (albeit not within the DOCKER-USER list) and will open ports for whatever necessary service you install in your Dockers.

Note that the only ports you have to block are ports that Docker will share and that you have otherwise open on your main server. If Docker opens port 5000 and your firewall does not allow connections to port 5000 from the outside, then you're already safe. On my end I have Apache running so as a result I block quite usual HTTP ports from Docker.


As we are helping various customers, we encounter new technologies.

In the old days, we used chroot to create a separate environment where you could have your own installation and prevent the software from within that environment access to everything on your computer. This is particularly useful for publicly facing services liek Apache, Bind, etc.

Help with version 0.1.7 of Zipios (CVE-2019-13453)

Here is yet another example of why opensource is a really good way of getting things fixed.

Assuming you have a project that is getting used by many, you are likely to see people post issues about bugs and possible enhancements. Your software is even very likely to get improved on its own by enthousiast users. On Github, for example, it is very easy to fork a project (make a copy) and then work on your version of the software. You can then offer a fix to the main authors of the project with a near one to one copy of the project.

In our case, a security professional, Mike Salvatore, was asked ...

Best C++ Books

Once in a while someone will ask me which book is best to start learning programming. The fact is that I do not know because I'm already an advanced programmer and it's rather difficult for me to get back to the basics (it feels like a waste of my time, sorry...)

That being said, at Made to Order Software, we've mainly been a C++ shop. We also do a lot of C, PHP, JavaScript and touch many other languages as required by the tasks we perform (bash, cmake, perl, C#, Java, etc.)

That being said, I wanted to underline some of the best C++ books available today. Especially, in the last ...

Put the label of an HTML Input inside the Input element

Reflection of trees in a mountain lake.


With HTML5 running on pretty much all platforms, you want to use the placeholder attribute instead of any sort of tricks to place a label inside your input widgets.

This is done like this:

<input type="text" placeholder="Phone Number"/>

This example will show "Phone Number" inside the input box until the user types some text in that box.

You can test with the box right here. This is just that one <input .../> tag I placed in my page HTML. (It is not in a form, but the widget itself will work as expected.)

For additional details, I ...

Getting Rid of Deactivated Facebook Friends

Last updated in Dec 31, 2017 as many things have changed.
Not only that, I also noticed that "dead" accounts are not always really dead.
Read below to learn more.

I was slowly nearing 5,000 friends when all of a sudden I had 5,089!

Wondering what was happening, a post on the Blackhat World forum caught my eye as someone mentioned the fact that he had 5,700 friends. The answer was that deactivated friends do count against your 5,000 friends limit. They are counted as part of your friends even though they do not have an account anymore and they don't get automatically removed ...

The set_fax_id() function PHP e-Fax must be given unique IDs, each time.

Fax button on an old type of fax machine

The PHP eFax system uses a class that ease the communication between your software and eFax. The developer system is not too complicated, but there are tricks to it and the class hides most of them.

Today a customer contacted us as they just purchased a copy of our PHP library and had problems sending faxes. The fact is that they used the set_fax_id() function with a hard coded string. Imagine doing something like:

$efax->set_fax_id("Test Fax");

This looks pretty good, only after the second time the sending of the fax will fail because eFax considers that it was already ...

PHP e-Fax requires valid SSL certificates (failed with code 1)

As e-Fax is updating their systems further to be compliant with various security systems, some new problems may arise on your servers.

The main one is an SSL error that is quite unclear.

Warning: stream_socket_client(): SSL operation failed with code 1. OpenSSL Error messages: error:14090086:SSL routines:ssl3_get_server_certificate:certificate verify failed in /path-to-php-efax/http_request.php on line 294

As we can see, the error mentions a server certificate function and says it could not verify a certificate.

If your server is not 100% up to date with newest SSL versions or your web ...

CAPTCHA is not working against all robots anymore but...

No Junk Mail written on the mailbox window of this door.

Also many reCAPTCHAs are being bypassed, it still work against many robots, although newer robots use Artificial Intelligence and they are quickly able to bypass most of the reCAPTCHAs.

At some point, the main reason for the bypass was the fact that some people were getting paid to resolve those reCAPTCHAs. In other words, some people were offered the job to do just that! They go to a computer, resolve many reCAPTCHAs and get paid something like 2 cents per successful resolutions. The result is that websites with reCAPTCHAs still receive a lot of spam!

In 2017, it looks like such ...