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As a protest vote against the Big 6 energy companies, I recently switched supplier to Cooperative Energy. Switching is painless, fill your details in online, click the button and off you go. They do of course want a password from you and I used LastPass to generate a unique one for me and memorise it.
Some time later, I went to login in to the customer portal just to see what I could do and was quite surprised to find my password didn’t work. I mentally shrugged and clicked on the Forgotten Password link and waited for the usual password reset email to arrive. I got this instead:Dear Customer The information you requested is... eg!3fpp*hvfs If you have any questions please contact our customer service team
(This is, of course, not my actual password, this is just an example that I’ll treat the same way as the Coop did.)
Here we have two immediate problems. The first is, of course, they have sent me my password in plain text in an email. We all know that’s a bad idea. Secondly, what they have sent is not actually my password. My password looks like this:eg!3fP^P*hVFs
See what they did? For whatever reason the caret has been removed and all the letters have be converted to lower case thus making my password less secure. I sighed and went to change my password online and found I couldn’t. If I want to change my password then I have to go talk to a human to do so. This leads to problem three, which is that people generally pick stupid passwords and reuse them. I’m sure Coop Energy only employ wonderful honest people, but giving them an email address and a stupid password is only ever going to end badly for someone eventually.
I’ve spoken to Coop Energy’s customer service team and they acknowledge the problems I’ve found. Let’s hope, for the sake of a safer and more secure internet, they sort them out.
This is just some idle speculation on my part, and should not be considered as having any authority whatsoever.Android to support alternative to Java
For some time, I have thought it must sit a little awkward with Google having Java so firmly entrenched in Android. Of course Google bought Android, so the original decision to use Java was not theirs, but have they considered moving away from it?
That would be a huge task. A number of things would need to be put in place before that could be considered. The development tools would have to be able to use the new language, and the runtime engine will have to be flexible enough to use the ne language as well as support the existing Java written apps.
Google have recently previewed a new IDE called Android Studio. Would this be better suited to supporting different languages?
With the recent introduction of Android 4.4, there is now the option to use an alternative runtime to Dalvik. ART. It would make sense to me that this would be an ideal opportunity to include the possibility of having an alternative programming language to Java.
As I said before, this is just speculation, but I really do wonder if by the time Android 5.0 comes out, will we be able to use something other than Java to write applications for android phones SDK? I know that is possible now with the NDK but that does not count!
So I recently mentioned that I stopped myself from registering all the domains, but I did aquire rsync.io.
Today I'll be moving my last few backups over to using it.
In terms of backups I'm pretty well covered; I have dumps of databases and I have filesystem dumps too. The only niggles are the "random" directories I want to backup from my home desktop.
My home desktop is too large to backup completely, but I do want to archive some of it:
In short I have a random assortment of directories I want to backup, with pretty much no rhyme or reason to it.
I've scripted the backup right now, using SSH keys + rsync. But it feels like a mess.
PS. Proving my inability to concentrate I couldn't even keep up with a daily blog for more than two days. Oops.
I’ve been thinking about how to raise money for my Malawi Mission in aid of AMECA. Just tweeting and Facebooking the relevant links has done a pretty good job so far (I’m already at 40% of my target thanks to the wonderful people who have donated already) but I figure I’ll need to put in some extra effort to raise the rest. If you’ve any creative suggestions about how I can help raise more money for AMECA please leave a comment.
One idea I had was to inflict my culinary skills on people in exchange for money. I enjoy cooking and, although not sophisticated about it, I think I’m OK. But I’m not really a baker. This evening I set about trying to change that, and make some rather nice chocolate orange biscuits. These were a trial run, but on this evidence it might be worth pursuing!
Last week I wrote about how I’m giving away tickets to the official Doctor Who convention this month. Well, absolutely no-one has donated yet, so it’s basically an open goal if anyone wants to go for it! This week the BBC announced some extra guests for Sunday 24th, the day of these tickets:
That’s in addition to the various Doctors and companions already announced, including Matt Smith and Sylvester McCoy. Go enter!Donate here to enter the draw. Pin It
Yesterday I spotted a link to Mosh. I think I've seen it before but for some reason I bothered to read the whole article this time. Mosh is a whole new remote shell tool specially designed to work over mobile and intermittent networks. It's in Debian stable so I installed it and gave it ago. At the moment it's not a replacement for SSH, so you will still need SSH but only to bootstrap the tool.
You start a Mosh session by typing:$ mosh user@server
Just like you would on SSH, in fact that's how is starts, you login to the remote server and start a mosh-server in your name (no root code). Back on the client you then connect to the most-server using the mosh-client. The two ends exchange data using UDP not TCP, and the connection is encrypted by AES-128 in OCB mode.
Each end maintains what it thinks the "screen" should look like, so the client mostly does local echo reducing lag - though there is smart stuff in there to decide when not to. As long as the client and server are still running, being UDP they will re-connect after outage and client IP change as if nothing had happened. Should you become disconnected then when you reconnect the two ends resynchronise the current state the state of the server during the outage is irrelevant and thrown away, works even after the client is suspended and wakes up on a different network.
The developers claim that they offer better UTF terminal support than most other tools, and the modular design of the whole tool makes it easier to extend than SSH and should make security auditing easier.
Anyhow it's interesting, have a look if you have time. mosh.mit.edu. It's not yet a complete SSH replacement but for lots of things it's still very useful, faster than SSH and more robust in real world use. I can't comment on how secure it is, and the authors say they are confident but they are open that it's not had the same review that OpenSSH has.
Today I'm recuperating, and almost back to full health.
Unfortunately I made the mistake of online-shopping, oops.
Good job I stopped myself from registaring all the domains, but I did get two that I liked: spare.io & edinburgh.io.
I've updated my database to record them, but I wonder what do other people use to remind them about expiration dates of domains, SSL-certificates, & etc?
I googled and didn't find a definitive free/paid service, but it seems like something lots of people need to be reminded about..
Maybe people just rely on registrars sending strident emails. (Of course the redemption period for domains make it reasonably safe to forget for a day or two, until your customers complain and your emails start to bounce..)
I've just been putting together a post about some modifications to Scratch for use in a school environment that I have used for the Code Club that I run. Everything went well on the school computers, but when I tried to do the same on my own Windows 7 desktop to get some screenshots things went a little weird.
First off, it is a pain to edit the required .ini file. Right click and edit doesn't give you administrator privileges so you can save it. My first thought was to run Explorer as administrator, but sadly the administrator privileges don't extend to Notepad when you right click and choose edit. As it happened I was only going to use Notepad for the screenshots, so I took them and then used Notepad++ to do the actual edit. A quick right click and "Edit with Notepad++" followed by closing it and opening it again with administrator privileges did the trick.
This is where things went from slightly annoying (isn't Windows always!) to weird. When I ran Scratch my edits to the .ini file didn't appear to have taken, so I checked the file - fine, nothing wrong there. So this being Windows I decided to try a logout and login just to be sure there wasn't anything odd going on there. No joy. So I decided to check from the command line with Edit. For some reason when I opened the .ini file up in Edit the extra two lines I had added were missing, so I checked in both Notepad and Notepad++ and they were there. I double checked I was working on the same file and there had been no name change for some strange reason and all was well - or at least I confirmed I was working on the same file.
At this point I realised that the command line I was using wasn't running as administrator, so I opened up an administrator command prompt and headed to the same directory to edit the file there. The only issue was that when I open it in Edit the two lines I had added were there. This would seem to imply that there are two versions of the file, one for the administrator with the edits and one for my user account without. Although then again, not, since when I edited in the GUI with Notepad or Notepad++ either as administrator or my standard user I did have the edits! This didn't make much sense. For a moment it looked as though I was going to have to mess around with changing the permissions to work out what was going on. Anyway, I switched to the non-administrative command prompt to edit the file, only to find that my changes have magically appeared (and I hadn't messed with the permissions yet)! So I tried Scratch again and there we go, the changes are working.
So it would appear that, for some reason, the edits I made to the file (using administrative privileges) took a few minutes and a logout and back in again to be visible to my user account! ...and some people wonder why I prefer using Linux!!