Category: misc (Page 1 of 2)

UK High St in is cascade failure

For those who aren’t from the UK, the “High Street” is what we call the shopping parade in a typical town or city. It lies at the heart of the town, quite different to a mall, and is more of a European concept. “Cascade failure” is what we say when one part of a system causes another part of the system to fail, often like a set of dominoes falling. Putting two and two together: I believe that the UK High St is in such a failure mode right now, and that over the next five years we’re going to see some very rapid changes.

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WPA2: Broken with KRACK. What now?

On social media right now, strong rumours are spreading that the WPA2 encryption scheme has been broken in a fundamental way. What this means: the security built into WiFi is likely ineffective, and we should not assume it provides any security.

The current name I’m seeing for this is “KRACK”: Key Reinstallation AttaCK. If this is true, it means third parties will be able to eavesdrop on your network traffic: what should be a private conversation could be listened in to.

This has happened before with WiFi: who remembers WEP passwords? However, what is different this time around: there is no obvious, easy, replacement ready and waiting. This is suddenly a very big deal.

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There’s a great demo from the recent OpenStack Summit (wish I had been there): OpenStack is a known massive pain to get up and running, and having it in a reasonable set of containers that might be used to deploy it by default is really interesting to see. This is available in Quay as Stackanetes, which is a pretty awful name (as is Stackenetes, and Stackernetes, both of which were googlewhacks earlier today) for some great work.

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Some notes on Serverless design: “macro-function oriented architecture”

Over the past couple of days I’ve been engaged in a Twitter discussion about serverless. The trigger for this was Paul Johnston‘s rather excellent series of posts on his experiences with serverless, wrapped up in this decent overview. First, what is serverless? You can go over and read Paul’s explanation; my take is that there isn’t really a great definition for this yet. Amazon’s Lambda is the canonical implementation, and as the name kind of gives away, it’s very much a function-oriented environment: there are no EC2 instances to manage or anything like that, you upload some code and that code is executed on reception of an event – then you just pay for the compute time used.

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What I realised I’m missing from Gnome

Not that long ago, I did a switch on my Android phone: against all the promises I made to myself beforehand, I switched on the Google account and allowed it to sync up to GCHQ/NSA the cloud. I did this for one main reason: I had just got an Android tablet, and I despised having to do the same stuff on each device, particularly since they weren’t running the same versions of Android, and one was a Nexus – so not all the UI was the same.

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A first look at

In my previous post about virtualenv, I took a look at a way of making python environments a little bit more generic so that they could be moved around and redeployed at ease. I mentioned as a new tool that uses a general concept of “containers” to do similar things, but more broadly. I’ve dug a bit into docker, and these are my initial thoughts. Unfortunately, it seems relatively Fedora un-friendly right now.

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Short thoughts on the riots.

Last night, we decided to order pizza – we don’t do it often, it’s lazy but sort of a treat. However, out of the three local well-known places, only one was open: the other two had shut down early. Now, we don’t live in London per se, but Croydon (where there were major fires and a member of the public was shot just a night ago) is only a few miles east, and Clapham a few miles north.

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Getting rid of Google’s annoying “background image”

For some reason, Google have decided to put large images as the backdrop to their search engine. Not only are they large and grating, but they change over time and it’s horrible. I’ve turned this off by putting the following in Firefox’s userContent.css: This gets rid of most of the nasty. However, sadly, the file you need to edit may or may not exist, and could be in a variety of different places, and of course there doesn’t seem to be any good way of doing this easily.

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Why Google is really pulling out of China

Since the news about Google demanding unfiltered search came out earlier today, I’ve speculated in a number of places that Google have broader reasons for wanting out of China, and that the issue of search – and, by extension, free speech – was not exactly #1 on their list of priorities. In particular, I mentioned on LWN my thoughts on what kind of an effect Chinese infiltration of Google Apps would have on the customer base they’re trying to build.

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Patent infringement to be criminalised?

That’s apparently what a group of UK inventors are asking for. On the face of it, their arguments are pretty hard to dismiss: if you have a patent, it is extremely costly to “enforce” it and essentially means it’s only open to the big boys. Sadly, the article doesn’t really talk much about patent quality or the goals of the patent system, and although it brings up the problem of accidental infringement / independent invention, it doesn’t really explore any possible solutions.

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