As the year draws to a close, so does this sixth season of the Ubuntu Podcast. We always take a break over Christmas and New Year to spend time with our families and recharge our batteries. It really does help maintain our energy and enthusiasm for doing the show.
We made quite a few changes to the format this year and generally they have gone down well. We moved from fortnightly episodes to a shorter, weekly format. We continued to stream the audio from live episodes, but have also added a video stream, thanks to Popey’s webcam and some insulation tape. We made a concerted effort to bring you more interviews and take more time to discuss news items.
We did briefly consider putting out an episode on Christmas day, but we’ve decided to round off this year with a double-length show. We’ll be breaking out the mince pies and brandy butter (chocolate mini-rolls for Mark) and maybe even mulling some wine to add the proper festive spirit to our show.
So join us live at 2030 UTC (that’s also 2030 GMT) tomorrow evening for the last episode of the Ubuntu Podcast for this year, and what we hope will be some festive fun, frolics and felicitations.Pin It
The work to make Communicado’s life as difficult as possible continues and it does seem like we’re having some success.
When I started this project, Communicado registered all their domains through DAILY mostly using faked registrant data and hiding behind the privileges granted to individual private registrants. I established a dialog with Nominet about this and it seems Nominet did take action to the point of suspending some of these domains. Communicado then suddenly switched to using ENOM for registering their domains, I don’t know and have no way of knowing if they were booted off by DAILY or just decided to switch. Either way, it made no difference, I could easily find the domains they were registering via Nominet’s PRSS tool.
As of Monday 16th, they have changed tactics again. They have apparently abandoned the .co.uk namespace (I’m sure they’ll be missed) and have gone back to using a variety of .com, .net and .org domains. Some seen in use today are:actionallegiance.com andronol.com baotao.org bigrockconsultants.com coolpress.net europacastno.com greenroses.org hourlycreative.com pidchas.com
They’re easy enough to spot in the logs, but I don’t currently have a good way of searching the whois for these TLDs. Suggestions for such a tool (non-free is fine) are welcome.
Maintaining this list and the RBL service is taking time and money. I will absolutely never be charging anyone for the list and the RBL will be free and open access for as long as it is sustainable to do so. In addition to the ways you can help mentioned in previous posts, a more direct way you can help is to donate a little money, preferably in the form of Bitcoin to 1F9Y1Gd3Pmmchxa7uGFd3zBQY9zVuX78Jd.
More news when I have it, you can follow @Excommunicado for more frequent updates.
I attended ThingMonk 2013 conference partly because IBM’s doing a load of work around the Internet of Things (IoT). I figured it would be useful to find out what’s happening in the world of IoT at the moment. Also, I knew that, as a *Monk production, the food would be amazing.What is the Internet of Things?
If you’re reading this, you’re familiar with using devices to access information, communicate, buy things, and so on over the Internet. The Internet of Things, at a superficial level, is just taking the humans out of the process. So, for example, if your washing machine were connected to the Internet, it could automatically book a service engineer if it detects a fault.
I say ‘at a superficial level’ because there are obviously still issues relevant to humans in an automated process. It matters that the automatically-scheduled appointment is convenient for the householder. And it matters that the householder trusts that the machine really is faulty when it says it is and that it’s not the manufacturer just calling out a service engineer to make money.
ThingMonk 2013 was a fun two-day conference in London. On Monday was a hackday with spontaneous lightning talks and on Tuesday were the scheduled talks and the evening party. I wasn’t able to attend Monday’s hackday so you’ll have to read someone else’s write-up about that (you could try Josie Messa’s, for instance).The talks
I bought my Arduino getting started kit (which I used for my Christmas lights energy project in 2010) from Tinker London so I was pleased to finally meet Tinker’s former-CEO, Alexandra Dechamps-Sonsino, at ThingMonk 2013. I’ve known her on Twitter for about 4 years but we’d never met in person. Alex is also founder of the Good Night Lamp, which I blogged about earlier this year. She talked at ThingMonk about “the past, present and future of the Internet of Things” from her position of being part of it.
I think it was probably Nick O’Leary who first introduced me to the Arduino, many moons ago over cups of tea at work. He spoke at ThingMonk about wiring the Internet of Things. This included a demo of his latest project, NodeRED, which he and IBM have recently open sourced on GitHub.
Sadly I missed the previous day when it seems Nick and colleagues, Dave C-J and Andy S-C, won over many of the hackday attendees to the view that IBM’s MQTT and NodeRED are the coolest things known to developerkind right now. So many people mentioned one or both of them throughout the day. One developer told me he didn’t know why he’d not tried MQTT 4 years ago. He also seemed interested in playing with NodeRED, just as soon as the shock that IBM produces cool things for developers had worn off.
Ian Skerrett from Eclipse talked about the role of Open Source in the Internet of Things. Eclipse has recently started the Paho project, which focuses on open source implementations of the standards and protocols used in IoT. The project includes IBM’s Really Small Message Broker and Roger Light’s Mosquitto.
There were a couple of talks about people’s experiences of startups producing physical objects compared with producing software. Tom Taylor talked about setting up Newspaper Club, which is a site where you can put together and get printed your own newspaper run. His presentation included this slide:
Patrick Bergel made the very good point in his talk that a lot of IoT projects, at the moment, are aimed at ‘non-problems’. While fun and useful for learning what we can do with IoT technologies, they don’t really address the needs of real people (ie people who aren’t “hackers, hipsters, or weirdos”). For instance, there are increasing numbers of older people who could benefit from things that address problems social isolation, dementia, blindness, and physical and cognitive impairments. His point was underscored throughout the day by examples of fun-but-not-entirely-useful-as-is projects, such as flying a drone with fruit. That’s not to say such projects are a waste of time in themselves but that we should get moving on projects that address real problems too.
The talk which chimed the most with me, though, was Claire Rowland‘s on the important user experience UX issues around IoT. She spoke about the importance of understanding how users (householders) make sense of automated things in their homes.The food
The food was, as expected, amazing. I’ve never had bacon and scrambled egg butties that melt in the mouth before. The steak and Guinness casserole for lunch was beyond words. The evening party was sustained with sushi and tasty curry.
The Windows 8 Mail ‘app’ is fussy about who it will talk to, and gives absolutely no clues about what it thinks is wrong. It just refers the user to their system administrator.
But, with help from Eric Lee Green’s blog, I finally cracked it.
I have a Debian server running Exim4 (for SMTP) and Dovecot (IMAP).
Firstly I needed up-to-date self-signed SSL certificates for each of these (which I should have had anyway, but email clients such as Thunderbird are much less fussy).
For Exim, that means running# bash /usr/share/doc/exim4-base/examples/exim-gencert
Debian hides the certificate-generating script for Dovecot in the .deb package, so you have to run# rm /etc/dovecot/dovecot.pem # rm /etc/dovecot/private/dovecot.pem # dpkg-reconfigure dovecot-core
The next operation is to get the public certificate files (not the ones in private directories, obviously), i.e. exim.crt and dovecot.pem onto the Windows 8 machine. I used psftp to copy them to the desktop. Rename dovecot.pem to dovecot.crt so that Windows knows what to do with it. Then, for each one in turn:
Finally the Mail app should now let you set up an account. Make sure that the server names you use match the ones in the certificate. To check, run this (back on Debian):# openssl x509 -in /etc/exim4/exim.crt -text -noout # openssl x509 -in /etc/dovecot/dovecot.pem -text -noout
and examine the output.
A final note: W8 Mail, being the half-baked toy that it is, doesn’t offer STARTTLS as a connection option, only the ‘obsolete’ (according to Hazel) SSMTP protocol — what the app refers to as simply ‘SSL’. So you’ll have to set up Exim to do that.
Trying to do SSL on port 587 (i.e. expecting STARTTLS), I get:2013-12-15 12:42:47 SMTP protocol synchronization error (input sent without waiting for greeting): rejected connection from H=example.org.uk [18.104.22.168] input="\026\003\00 2013-12-15 12:42:47 TLS error on connection from example.org.uk [22.214.171.124] (recv): A TLS packet with unexpected length was received. 2013-12-15 12:42:47 TLS error on connection from example.org.uk [126.96.36.199] (send): The specified session has been invalidated for some reason.
even after applying the alleged fix at https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/gnutls13/+bug/1007231.
I like this time of year, I like the decorations, the music, the food, the specials on TV, gift giving and the time off work. I even like the short days and long nights - winter didn't seem right when I lived a lot closer to the equator...
What I don't like the enforced jollity, holier than thou religious babble that has nothing to do with this essentially pre-Christian festival and extreme commercialism. Bah humbug to all Christmas Jumper wearing, artificially cherry, sales & marketing people and the pious people complaining about them...
Yuletide greetings to everyone, whatever you believe.
Today, here in the UK, the date is 11/12/13.
Today, here in Edinburgh, I we became married.
I've already promised I will make no more than two jokes, ever, about "owning a wife". I will save them for suitable occasions.
I know a lot of customers have been asking for SQLServer support for the Record Replay feature of IBM Integration Bus. With the release of IIB fixpack 188.8.131.52 this is now a supported database for Record and Replay.