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Linux to the rescue!

Xtra-PC, a complete ready to go OS on a thumb drive

Doug and I have always thought that Linux would become the primary OS of today.

We've seen it go up and down, but now it's really becoming powerful, between OpenOffice, Chrome, The Gimp, Krita, Audacity, and many other tools, you can do so much that it more and more renders the expense of running MS-Windows less and less viable for most.

Now there is this new company offering a thumb drive with an optimized version of Linux called Xtra-PC which boots really fast and offers all the basics that one needs to run a computer. There is nothing to install, the OS will automatically detect ...

How small are computers getting?

Mini-computer versus Mouse

Click on picture to see on Amazon.com (which I'm an affiliate of).

Computer Stick

Looking at Mini Computers, I found this Fanless Mini PC based on the Intel Atom Z8350 processor by SmallRT. The picture includes a mouse to give you an idea of the size of that thing. It's tiny! Maybe not what you want, but you can already do a lot with that little one.

The connector on the left side is an HDMI plug which spits out 4K of video graphics. It's just totally amazing to me. Of course, we had the Pi3 and now we have the Pi4... but those are computers for hackers. Here we're ...

Docker, an advanced chroot utility


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

SECURITY WARNING

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 192.168.1.0/24 -j DROP

This means that unless the IP address matches 192.168.1.0/24, 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:

*filter
: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.

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.

No more excuses! Protect your passwords on your computer with strong encryption.

More and more, we hear talks about hackers entering personal accounts on systems such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and many others. There are many reasons why someone's account will be hacked. One of them is the lack of imagination for their password. Plus, some people use the same password for all of their accounts.

So, if you do it right, you will end up with many passwords. On my end, I have one password per account and that means about 400 passwords... That's totally unmanageable in a fairly standard human brain. For this reason, you end up writing down all your passwords on ...

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 ...

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 ...

Alan Turing Centenary

Starting tomorrow, Jun 23, 2012, many countries are to celebrate the centeray birth year of Alan Turing. Alan created the Turing machine concepts and formalized algorithm and computation that are now in use in all our computers (including your portable phone and your electronic watch.)

He actually participated to the creation of the first electronic computer during second world war in England. His algorithms and knowledge of cryptography gave him the necessary skills to crack the encoding of the German Enigma Machine (a form of printer that would encode messages with a level of complexity too ...

Protected Node Rules Support

The following features are available only when installing the Rules extension of protected nodes. This extension requires the thrid party Rules extension for Drupal.

Protected Node Rules Conditions

When handling a Node, it is possible to check whether the node is currently protected or locked.

Protected Nodes

A node is said protected when the node was protected by a password using the Protected node module.

Whether the user can view that node is irrevelant in this case. Only the fact that the node requires a password to be viewed is what this condition checks.

Locked Nodes

A ...

CSS3 media queries

CSS is improving with the introduction of CSS3.

Contrary to the previous version, CSS3 supports selections that are very advanced, offering capabilities close to what you could write in JavaScript.

Today I wanted to talk about the Media Queries because that can be used to very much optimize the list of links used to load your CSS data.

In HTML, you can use a <link ...> to add a CSS file to your page.

<link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href="style.css" />

In this case, the file style.css will always be loaded, whatever the media being used.

Simplemenu Settings

Menu Settings

Menu

Select the menu to be displayed as the Simplemenu. By default, we display the Navigation Menu which makes the most sense for administrator (as the Simplemenu was primarily created for administrators wanting to quickly go to all administration pages.)

Theme

Select a theme to display your Simplemenu items and dropdowns. The default is called original.

The themes reside in the module sub-folder named themes. Each theme is defined in a specific directory named after the theme. That name is what appears in the dropdown in the settings.

It is possible to add new themes as