2007-11-30

Tired of SSH passwording?

This article goes into the details of how to get rid of password entering. For me it actually works even without the last step: -i $HOME/.ssh/id_dsa.

Thanks to Rudi for the tip!
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2007-11-23

C++ 0x talk by Bjarne Stroustrup

Just found that very recent (couldn't deduce the date) great video recording of Bjarne Stroustrup giving a talk at the Texas A&M University.

The topic is the new C++0x standard scheduled for 2009, but some general topics are also addressed during Q&A's.

Like Peteris Krumins, I also stopped everything I was currently working on for that 90 minute video. It's very interesting and if you are into C++, this is a must-see. It's worth the time!

C++ might lack the framework of Java & C# and have some problems with it's reminiscence of C, but it is still my favorite language, as the parts of the language integrate together most nicely with true generic templates. Let me quote Mr. Stroustrup's side blow on some other languages:

If you write vector<int>, you really get a vector of ints, not a reference to a vector containing references to ints.

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Visual Studio 2008 & .NET 3.5 is out

Microsoft recently released Visual Studio 2008 and the fitting .NET Framework 3.5. Included is now full support for LINQ. On the way to LINQ, Anders Hejlsberg discovered the language concepts in Lambda Expressions to implement that feature and thus they are also included in this release.

See Microsoft Channel9 Video blogs on that topic with Anders for details.

I am quite sure, that this release of functional languages programming features into a mainstream imperative language will have a big impact on the way software is developed. Also on other languages : Java is discussing Closures - a Lambda Expressions related concept - probably available in Java 7.

Thus I'm looking forward to future developments in that sector.
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2007-11-22

24C3 Fahrplan

Chaos Communication Congress #24 coming up. The Fahrplan has just been announced!
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...media companies piss all over each other’s feet.

said Trent Reznor on NiN homepage on Monday, commenting the legal cases Music Industry vs. Youtube and Co. As a side-effect of those, he can't work with his fans the way he wants. (Read his article for details)

It feels right and good to see the bands and artists stepping into their role as the authors of the music during this critical digital shift that is ongoing. They begin to realize what the music industry does ("for them?") right now: Fight the already lost battle against the digital revolution and suing customers.

So if customers think digital music is a good thing and the bands thinks its a good thing, there will be a solution for the compensation problem.

What is left are the dinosaurs in the middle, that uselessly wait for their meteorite to extinct them.
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2007-11-18

Grub error 17

Interestingly 0x17=23 hehe, but let's leave that aside.

Got abovementioned error even before the boot menu showed up, so I was again really locked out from my Windows Vista and my Debian. And slowly I began to remember last night, I tried to install some new game on Vista, but disk space was too low and the installer had some bug not letting me install the software on any other drive than C.

Looking back, the decision I took, using the Windows built-in partition manager to purge the second partition (unused encrypted) and merge it into Windows' C partition, seems horribly dangerous , but well, let's say I had some wine :)

Well, that merging worked great on first sight, unbelievable! I played some time and shut down the PC. To have a bad awakening today...

Well after the general first confusion I reinstalled grub and I got at least to the boot menu. Still outstanding was to generate a new initramfs, and change all partition relevant settings, because now I had one partition less before my boot and root.

Perhaps I should be more cautious about new games :) See my solution blog for the technical details.
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2007-11-14

Effective Java Reloaded

My book shelf includes Joshua Bloch's Effective Java and today I came across the presentation slides of a talk he gave, continuing the series of Java tips. This time with Java 5 and Generics.

Interesting read if you are into Java 5+
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2007-11-13

eTesting, no thanks

Moodle is an eLearning system thats in use at the JK University in Linz, where I study. So far theres nothing special to that, Document and Link distribution, a classroom concept, personalized logins, Student/Teacher distinction etc. Everything you would except.

Furthermore it provides a functionality for performing online tests. You have a time frame for taking the test, eg one day. And for each test a limited time, eg 5 minutes. I attend a course, where this functionality is used.

Last Friday I've taken the first online test for that course and if I recall correctly, this has been my first eTest ever that had some relevance. I had some sickish feelings then with my non-standard Setup: Debian and Firefox; and was afraid, that simply the system, firefox or something else would crash during the test. Would the entering of diacritics work, what if the PC was syncing with the time server during the test and the counting was not server-based (though very unlikely).

So much could go wrong and my standpoint of: My PC crashed or I was fighting with my keyboard layout because I unfortunately pressed the wrong key sequence, etc.. would not be an easy one to argue / hold.

Summing up my experience, it kind of reminded me of eVoting: The whole system is too complex that anyone can rely on it for nontrivial issues. I would prefer a 'Viva Voce' over this eTesting. Thus I hope that idea doesn't go mainstream.

A last comment: I think eLearning is a good and great thing to have, it's only eTesting that I dislike.
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2007-11-06

ACM Digital Library

The Association for computing machinery - an old lady in the field of computer science.

It has a vast Digital Library which I have access to through Student/University licenses and contains many valuable papers and covers many interesting topics.

But its not free, actually as a non-student you have to pay 200 Dollars per year (Membership plus access). So, where's the "Free the ACM library" movement? Let's pretend it is right here, I support it. Personally I think, it would be a great value to everybody to have it available as free resource.

Of course somebody has to finance the review system and so on, but perhaps there is a solution to that? Wikipedia works too!

Anyways, its a great library, that I can confirm, could be worth its 200 dollars for a software company and like.
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2007-11-05

Bash tips

Just came across that very nice article of Bash tips, for instance use cd - to change the directory to the just previous one. Or Control-u to cut the text left of the cursor (in addition to the standard Control-k to cut right of the cursor).

Also check the long list of comments on the article, that too contain various nice tips.
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2007-11-01

Privacy and terrorism

It has been a long time since someone expressed my very exact feelings about a topic:

Heise's report on Germany's Green's party congress
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ramdisks and update-grub

aptitude full-upgrade and good morning Kernel panic: Can't open root device!

Thats how you find out, that update-grub seems to be run after an safe-upgrade and full-upgrade.

Anyways, I created the current initrd manually and named it "initramfs-version-...", thus as after the full-upgrade that I performed, update-grub was run, it only created initrd entries in grub's menu.lst for those ramdisk files that were named "initrd-version-..."

Thus it didn' create such an entry for my current kernel and the system panicked on boot. Gladly, that one was quickly fixed.
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Encrypted root and more

On my desktop system I decided to try out the cryptographic root options when installing debian.

The Debian installer even has gui support for that setup, so I went and created an uncrypted /boot partition with some 100 MB for the kernels, initrd's and so on. Next step was to create the biggest part of the hard disk as an encrypted partition. In that partition I setup an LVM volume group with swap and the root.

This all goes nicely with the installer and on my Core2 Duo System runs smoothly, doing the encryption transparently. I didn't yet recognize any performance difference (using AES-256), but I still have to run some games or apps that require more CPU power.

So during startup I enter the decryption password to unlock the partition and then continue with a secured system. Another interesting feature would be to put the password onto an USB stick and during bootup read it from there.
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