Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Creating a Mission Statement

We had one of "those" meetings today, and I have to tell you, it was more productive than I thought it might be. We focused on a coherent vision and coherent, plausible, and not ostentatious mission statement. I based my viewpoint on the mission of the Starship Enterprise, and focused my input on this one question that I felt the mission statement must provide an answer to: "For any action X that we do, is it accomplishing the mission statement?" The Enterprise's original mission was to do *something*, but it doesn't define or limit the parameters of how the mission is to be accomplished. The mission statement is also not about a milestone or final goal, but rather how the journey of success will be measured.

In essence, clearly and concisely we created a statement that tells our group and others who we are, and what our ultimate goals for measuring the success of our accomplishments may be. That enabled us to make a reasonably generic statement of goal/mission (our mission is to do genericly good thing X in order to accomplish broad continuous goal Y). "Did what we accomplish today further our ability to accomplish broad continuous goal Y?" Your mileage may vary.

Also, try not to split your infinitives, if at all possible.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Got my 3D back on my Gateway

If you're in Ubuntu, and upgrade from Intrepid to Lucid, you might find this problem that I had: No 3D Effects with Intel 945 graphics. Apparently, that's because Lucid thoughtfully installs nvidia drivers, which, until removed, usurp 3D capabilities of other processors, such as Intel's. I removed a few things labelled nvidia and got 3d working again. Yay!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

SSL Certs - It's about Identity, Not encryption

What I've recently learned that is TL:DR for me:
An SSL certificate is designed to provide identification, not [just] encryption. The point of the SSL Certificate is to inform the browser that the encryption being utilized is the one being offered at the server that you think you're visiting.

A CA/Certificate Authority is an entity that offers and digitally signs an SSL certificate. It is a third party that hopefully your browser trusts to confirms the certificate your web browser sees is the one that the CA issued.

Do you need to spend money to get an SSL certificate?
No: StartSSL.com can get you a real third-party verified SSL certificate.

If you can do that, why spend money?
Remember, an SSL certificate minimally provides identification that the SSL certificate that your browser sees is authorized by the CA for the domain name (and for the free certificate, an associated email address) that requested it. That type of information can be generally completed in an automated fashion. The next levels are generally "Verified" and "Extended Validation". Both of those require humans and time and vetting, so they might be more expensive. SSL is for identification, not [just] encryption. Higher levels of certification mean not only is the certificate pointing to the domain, but also that the domain really is the company that you want to connect to. See? Free SSL certificates are cheap. A phisher can create a look-a-like web site that has a real SSL certificate, connected to a almost-the-same domain name, and you could reasonably believe that you've entered your password -- securely -- on the correct domain.

What do you need for SSL?
If the minimum you need is a certificate for verifying that the encryption is valid for the site, maybe for your own email/Exchange Server, Cheap or even self-signed could possibly be adequate. If you're offering a secure service to the general public, you probably want to further ensure that they are connecting to the correct *COMPANY* as well as the correct domain, and therefore you'll want to go for higher levels of verification.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Current Favorite quote

"I, for one, will not look to the past and blame it. Rather, I will look to the future and claim it."

I'm pretty certain this is attributable to me as I made it up. I like it so much I want to make sure I never forget it.

Vista, Windows 7 doesn't have telnet - so get PuTTY

Get PuTTY
Here's how to use plink to test a port, like port 25:
plink -telnet your.domain.com -P 25
(Ctrl-C to quit)
or for interaction, PuTTY, in telnet mode.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

gnome-do won't start

starting from command line, get:
waiting for write add-in database lock

My solution:
find and remove
~/.local/share/gnome-do/plugins/addin-db-001/fdb-lock

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