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Messages - xasop

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My earphones broke a while back and I didn't want to complete these reviews with inferior quality audio. I have finally acquired a decent set of headphones and will soon be reviewing the last few of these shows.

Status Notices / Re: Scheduled maintenance, 2021-04-18
« on: April 18, 2021, 09:13:40 AM »
Maintenance is complete, but we ran out of time testing some of the changes, so they were not applied. Specifically, the forum has not yet been updated to 2.0.18 because we want to do a more thorough check of the changes in that version, and the post-count based PM ability has not been implemented because SMF groups don't seem to work correctly.

Status Notices / Scheduled maintenance, 2021-04-18
« on: April 15, 2021, 02:45:44 PM »
The homepage, forum and wiki will be going offline for about 15 minutes on 2021-04-18, between 09:00 and 09:30 UTC.

In your local time (if you are logged in and have your time offset correctly configured), this is:
April 18, 2021, 09:00:00 AM

We will be updating to the latest version of SMF at this time, as well as incorporating some fixes for issues raised in the Suggestions & Concerns forum.

At the same time, we will install security updates on the server which hosts the homepage, forum and wiki. These will be non-disruptive to functionality, as the server is running a stable OS release that gets critical fixes only.

Technology & Information / Re: I need me more terabytes
« on: April 15, 2021, 11:06:57 AM »
The most reliable HDD you can get is multiple redundant hard drives. I have a similar requirement for offline backup storage, and I have three Seagate Archive 8 TB drives and a disk cloner. Every so often, I clone the master disk to the others for redundancy (I also rotate which one is the "master" to spread the wear).

With this setup, you can go all in on data density and not worry too much about reliability, because it doesn't matter if one of them fails.

Technology & Information / Re: Custom keyboard layouts in X11
« on: April 04, 2021, 10:09:04 PM »
I made a futhorc keyboard layout! This one does not inherit from any existing layout since its only purpose is to type Old English using runes, which didn't tend to use punctuation, although I did include numbers because they seem kind of useful. The layout is based on phonetic correspondence (or similarity) to QWERTY, but I relegated the pseudo-runes, īor, cweorð and stan, to the punctuation keys to the right where they can go mostly untouched. Cealc, being just a variant of calc which is not really necessary, is typed as Shift+calc.

With this layout, I can now say that ᚦᚩᚱᛣ ᛁᛋ ᚪᛏᚩᛚ.

Code: [Select]
xkb_symbols "basic" {
    name[Group1]= "Old English (Futhorc)";

    key <AE01> { [ 1 ] };
    key <AE02> { [ 2 ] };
    key <AE03> { [ 3 ] };
    key <AE04> { [ 4 ] };
    key <AE05> { [ 5 ] };
    key <AE06> { [ 6 ] };
    key <AE07> { [ 7 ] };
    key <AE08> { [ 8 ] };
    key <AE09> { [ 9 ] };
    key <AE10> { [ 0 ] };

    key <AD01> { [ U16C7 ] }; // eoh
    key <AD02> { [ U16B9 ] }; // wynn
    key <AD03> { [ U16D6 ] }; // ehwaz
    key <AD04> { [ U16B1 ] }; // rad
    key <AD05> { [ U16CF ] }; // tiwaz
    key <AD06> { [ U16A3 ] }; // yr
    key <AD07> { [ U16A2 ] }; // ur
    key <AD08> { [ U16C1 ] }; // is
    key <AD09> { [ U16A9 ] }; // os
    key <AD10> { [ U16C8 ] }; // peorth
    key <AD11> { [ U16E2 ] }; // cweorth
    key <AD12> { [ U16E5 ] }; // stan

    key <AC01> { [ U16AA ] }; // ac
    key <AC02> { [ U16CB ] }; // sigel
    key <AC03> { [ U16DE ] }; // daeg
    key <AC04> { [ U16A0 ] }; // feoh
    key <AC05> { [ U16B7 ] }; // gyfu
    key <AC06> { [ U16BB ] }; // haegl
    key <AC07> { [ U16C4 ] }; // ger
    key <AC08> { [ U16DF ] }; // ethel
    key <AC09> { [ U16DA ] }; // lagu
    key <AC10> { [ U16E0 ] }; // ear
    key <AC11> { [ U16E1 ] }; // ior

    key <AB01> { [ U16AB ] }; // aesc
    key <AB02> { [ U16C9 ] }; // eolhx
    key <AB03> { [ U16B3 ] }; // cen
    key <AB04> { [ U16A6 ] }; // thorn
    key <AB05> { [ U16D2 ] }; // beorc
    key <AB06> { [ U16BE ] }; // nyd
    key <AB07> { [ U16D7 ] }; // mann
    key <AB08> { [ U16DD ] }; // Ing
    key <AB09> { [ U16E3, U16E4 ] }; // calc, cealc
    key <AB10> { [ U16B8 ] }; // gar

Technology & Information / Re: Custom keyboard layouts in X11
« on: April 03, 2021, 10:16:36 AM »
Use a text expandor and it will auto correct to add all the silly accents for you.


Also, 100% of Irish people speak English. Most don't speak Irish very well. You are wasting your life. You could be learning Japanese or Korean or something instead.

Coming from an Englishman, this is particularly rich.

Technology & Information / Custom keyboard layouts in X11
« on: April 03, 2021, 12:53:52 AM »
As a student of the Irish language, I wanted a way to enter a sineadh fada without using the XCompose method that has served me so well up to this point. The reasons are efficiency and accuracy: XCompose requires three keystrokes to input é, as opposed to two for a keyboard layout with AltGr+e; and this has the knock-on effect of making mistakes commonplace, such as pressing the keys in the wrong order and getting *iománáiocht instead of iománaíocht.

Unfortunately, the standard Irish keyboard layout is based on the terminally crippled UK layout, which means that it has (among other things) @, ", #, ~ and a few other symbols in the wrong places. Therefore, I took it upon myself to learn how to write my own xkb symbols file to create an ANSI-based Irish keyboard layout.

This turned out to be quite straightforward. The main annoyance is that if you make a mistake, X gives you no information whatsoever except that your symbols file has a mistake somewhere in it. But with a little trial and error, it's easy to get something that works well.

And so, behold! My new keyboard layout. I simply inherited the us(basic) layout I was already using (I don't want any of my existing usage to change), and added some new characters as combinations with AltGr. Each key has four symbols associated with it, corresponding to the key on its own, with Shift, with AltGr and with AltGr+Shift, respectively. NoSymbol means not to change the existing behaviour, which is why I used it everywhere that AltGr is not involved.

Code: [Select]
xkb_symbols "basic" {
    include "us(basic)"

    name[Group1]= "Irish (ANSI)";

    // Euro on 5 key
    key <AE05> { [ NoSymbol, NoSymbol,  EuroSign,       cent ] };

    // Q row
    key <AD03> { [ NoSymbol, NoSymbol,    eacute,     Eacute ] };
    key <AD04> { [ NoSymbol, NoSymbol, 0x100027C,   NoSymbol ] };
                                       // long r
    key <AD05> { [ NoSymbol, NoSymbol, tabovedot,  Tabovedot ] };
    key <AD07> { [ NoSymbol, NoSymbol,    uacute,     Uacute ] };
    key <AD08> { [ NoSymbol, NoSymbol,    iacute,     Iacute ] };
    key <AD09> { [ NoSymbol, NoSymbol,    oacute,     Oacute ] };
    key <AD10> { [ NoSymbol, NoSymbol, pabovedot,  Pabovedot ] };

    // A row
    key <AC01> { [ NoSymbol, NoSymbol,    aacute,     Aacute ] };
    key <AC02> { [ NoSymbol, NoSymbol, sabovedot,  Sabovedot ] };
    key <AC03> { [ NoSymbol, NoSymbol, dabovedot,  Dabovedot ] };
    key <AC04> { [ NoSymbol, NoSymbol, fabovedot,  Fabovedot ] };
    key <AC05> { [ NoSymbol, NoSymbol, gabovedot,  Gabovedot ] };

    // Z row
    key <AB01> { [ NoSymbol, NoSymbol, 0x100017F,  0x1001E9B ] };
                                       // long s, long s dot
    key <AB03> { [ NoSymbol, NoSymbol, cabovedot,  Cabovedot ] };
    key <AB05> { [ NoSymbol, NoSymbol, babovedot,  Babovedot ] };
    key <AB07> { [ NoSymbol, NoSymbol, mabovedot,  Mabovedot ] };

    include "level3(ralt_switch)"

Suggestions & Concerns / Re: Post limit on DMs
« on: March 18, 2021, 04:01:31 PM »
I am in agreement also. Actually, I thought we already discussed this at some point and agreed on it, but I may be wrong.

In fact, I'm certain I've come across threads where posts have been edited and I didn't get flagged as unread.

I was pretty sure of the opposite, but maybe I am confusing it with the delete-and-repost switcheroo.

If so, I think that should be disabled if possible. Only new posts should count towards such things.

The thing is that if someone edits a post to add substantial content, then this behaviour is desirable — otherwise someone may not notice they've added stuff and just never read it.

But we could certainly look at tweaking this. Certainly, if no changes are made at all, it shouldn't mark the thread unread. Perhaps small changes (say, with fewer than 10 added/removed characters, or some other arbitrary threshold) should also be exempted.

What do people think?

Technology & Information / Re: Laptop Help
« on: March 01, 2021, 03:24:16 PM »
So I found a refurbished 2017 Thinkpad or a new Ideapad at comparable cost, both from Newegg. Anyone have an opinion on which will be better value?

Refurbs are almost always better value than new laptops. Unless you want to run the latest AAA games or bleeding-edge video editing software, hardware doesn't advance rapidly enough that you'll notice a difference between what they can do, and the older laptop will have depreciated in price.

That said, look at the specs before making a decision. My suspicion is that the refurb will have better specs (or perhaps comparable specs and better build quality) if it's comparably priced, but it's good to be sure.

They dont handle aggressive multi tasking very well.... if I have two GIS programs up and then fire up chrome to troubleshoot issues I'm having, things slow down to a crawl. And they're pretty heavy.

This really depends on which model you have. Lenovo is a brand, and they produce a very wide variety of laptops. My previous laptop (an X1 Carbon) was extremely lightweight, and my current one (a T14 AMD) has an 8-core Ryzen that handles parallelism very well.

Technology & Information / Re: Ask Rushy about Bitcoins.
« on: February 23, 2021, 08:59:10 PM »
Here is the latest from Rushy on Bitcoin:

<Rushy> it could go up or down from here

Technology & Information / Re: New laptop
« on: February 10, 2021, 06:34:11 PM »

Looks like the M1 may actually be useful soon.

Technology & Information / Re: New laptop
« on: February 10, 2021, 03:56:57 PM »
They have an SOC.

Oh, well that changes everything. ::)

Technology & Information / Re: New laptop
« on: February 10, 2021, 03:12:46 PM »
You took an ARM chip that was optimised for a job and gave it a completely different job making it useless. I intend to use the chip as Apple designed it to be used. And 7 years later, it does a lot more than that awful crap you bought all those years ago. That Ævan guy was right. You are an idiot.

So you are just regurgitating corporate hype. Here's a hot tip: ARM laptops are, in general, no more specialised for doing one task than x86 laptops are, you've just bought into some marketing drone telling you they are. They're just another kind of machine.

Technology & Information / Re: New laptop
« on: February 10, 2021, 02:55:08 PM »
The future isn't power hungry x86 chips that compute generic workloads. Its going to be ARM with SOC tech, tuned to match the silicon to the software. I'm not running complex fluid dynamics computations. I watch youtube videos, make a the odd website, browse the internet and make a spreadsheet here and there. I want fast response times, low noise, low heat.

That's interesting. When I wanted that 7 years ago, this is what you said:

You bought a computer that is optimised for the internet and now you intend to unoptimise it for the internet?

You picked a computer with an Arm cortex A15 chip on it. And then put Debian on it. Do Debian have an app store? This is a tablet chip. Not x86. What could you possibly be intending to do on this computer? The only thing it is good for is browsing the internet ... and you just made it slower at doing that.

You're an idiot.

Why the change of heart? Are you sure you're not just regurgitating corporate marketing hype again?

Technology & Information / Re: New laptop
« on: January 10, 2021, 07:22:18 PM »
So yeah, I returned the hunk of shit and bought an M1 Macbook Air.

How can you return something before buying it?

Technology & Information / Re: Who loves or hates their VPN?
« on: December 28, 2020, 07:58:42 PM »
Very interesting. I've tried the IP Blocker in the Cpanel to block the IPs and their ranges but it does nothing to stop the hits. They're not really hurting anything but these 'GET's are consuming bandwidth and showing up in my metrics as traffic. It's annoying.

Speaking as a professional computer somebody for the past decade, this is just the Internet. If you are going to put services on the public Internet, you will need to get used to the fact that this happens.

Technology & Information / Re: Who loves or hates their VPN?
« on: December 28, 2020, 02:44:32 AM »
Don't get me wrong - I don't actually disagree with you here. It's just that... Yeah, things that shouldn't happen happen all the time. I see no merit in just saying "but it shouldn't happen" - I'd rather mitigate the effect of it happening. It is extremely important to address these flaws in the general use case as they crop up, but the paranoid use case of "I'm doing something I shouldn't be doing" warrants a few more layers of hardening.

That's fair, I suppose. I guess where I differ is that I don't consider this protection to be worth the added complexity, but then I was also looking at it as a way of running a web browser, where elevating privileges to root is basically never needed.

You explicitly stated that you don't like pre-made solutions in the field of security. I know you, and thus I have a good idea of what you meant, but I am going to be relatively unique to see your meaning despite your choice of words.

Well, to be more specific for the benefit of others: I prefer general-purpose tools that can be easily configured and composed to work the way I want them to, rather than tools that come pre-configured the way someone else thinks they should work. I don't think of configuration to suit your needs as reinventing the wheel, and I would never in any situation advocate reinvention of wheels in security. (Reinvention of wheels in other fields is sometimes, though rarely, justified.)

I suppose the 5 users of OpenBSD might indeed be restricted there. I know for a fact that OP is not one of them, so I didn't concern myself with it when making my recommendation.

OpenBSD is but one example. I actually edited my last post while you were replying, so to expand upon that, the Whonix installation instructions for Linux provide options for Virtualbox and what they call "KVM" (which is actually libvirt managing KVM guests). My Linux systems with VMs do use KVM, but they do not use libvirt, in part because libvirt does not support using the isolation features of QEMU that I use to mitigate the risk of VM escape attacks. It is a tad ironic that a project based on security by isolation would force me to reduce the isolation of my system in order to install it.

Other situations in which this is limiting are that you cannot use it on non-x86 hardware, or on old x86 CPUs without virtualisation extensions, or on a VM without nested virtualisation support (which is its own can of worms). In case you think I am contriving scenarios that will not arise in practice, I have personally encountered users who wanted to run VMs for isolation but could not for all three of these reasons.

Granted, this likely does not apply to the OP, but it is one of my concerns about using multiple VMs for this. (If it were a single VM, it could — at least in principle — be installed onto bare hardware as a workaround.) Even if we accept that the approach improves security, it does so at the cost of portability, which reduces the number of users that can take advantage of the improved security.

Yeah - I am working with limited information, and I filled the gaps in what OP told us with my own experience with similar activities. I have some confidence in my guessed, but it obviously does not replace a well-defined spec. However, I also suspect that OP doesn't exactly know what he wants - hence my suggestion of looking at a tool and seeing if it feels right.

Agreed on that point, which is why I suggested OpenBSD as well, as an option that comes with a privacy- and security-enhanced Firefox installation by default (albeit without Tor). Hopefully one of these options will suit.

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