Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category.

Metadata for beginners

metadataForBeginnersMany people I’ve spoken to seem to think that they don’t have anything to hide, and as long as the government isn’t listening in on the actual phone conversations, then they’re fine with it. As you might guess, I’m not. This slide from 30th Chaos Communication Congress (30C3) hits the head on the nail.

UN votes to protect privacy in digital age – Hurray!

unI honestly don’t understand why this wasn’t more publicized. It is great news! UN votes to protect privacy in digital age (from Associated Press)

Fantastic! Only real good news about this whole NSA scandal I’ve heard in a long time.

Director of national Intelligence James Clapper lies to US Congress – without consequences?


So, James Clapper, US Director of national Intelligence, lies to Congress. First he calls the lie the “least untruthful” answer he could publicly provide, and then cites a momentary memory failure. Seven congressmen take issue with James Clapper’s testimony, but Obama administration unlikely to turn against director.

See: Republicans demand consequences for ‘willful lie’ by intelligence chief | World news |

Let me recap: James Clapper, a retired lieutenant general in the United States Air Force (you’d think he knows right from wrong, truth from lie), lies under oath to US Congress and it is not likely to have any consequences for him.

Initially I’m astounded, but after a while, I’m sadly less surprised.

What kind of a message does that send?

If guys like him lie willfully under oath, how does that say about their credibility when not under oath?


Big Brother sees all but can’t keep a secret?

1984Two news items from this week have me quite uneasy.

The NSA is basically listening in on every US citizen. For the sake of argument, let me assume that they get everything. So far I don’t think we’re quite there yet here in Denmark.

Data held by the Danish police has been hacked. We’re not sure exactly what the hackers have had access to, but we do know they’ve had at least read+write access to all driver’s license data and read access to the Schengen Information System, a large European database on police and judicial co-operation. They’ve been lurking around in there undetected for 6 months. Do you believe that is all they’ve had access to? In 2011 Pentagon Admitted 24,000 Files Were Hacked too.

So Big Brother is watching us. This is not hearsay, but documented fact at least in the US. Also, now, we know Big Brother cannot keep its own secrets.

Yikes. Either of these two news stories are bad enough individually. But this is a nasty combination.

Getting older?

The other day, I was cooking, and it was time to set the table.

Suddenly I found myself standing in the storage/utility room. And I had no idea why I was there. “Peter, you need to set the table! Get back on track!” – I told myself.

So I went back into the kitchen. Looked at the table: What was missing? Ah, drinks. OK, glasses, plastic cup for my daughter, pitcher of water – check. “Hey, I’d like a Coke”, so I opened the fridge. No Cokes. Should probably put some in the fridge for next time I want a Coke. I went to the utility room, and suddenly it hit me: That is what I was doing in the storage room! Getting Cokes for the fridge!

Man, I think I’m… What was it? … Yes, I’m getting older!

Watches – Oh – Watches

I love watches.

Being a techie, I really can’t accept a watch that isn’t accurate. The accuracy of a quartz-crystal based watch is the minimum. I wish I could get a Rolex, Omega or other really nice looking watch, but I just can’t accept the accuracy I’ll get from a watch like that. So all the beautiful Swiss watches are out for me. But there are alternatives:

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Great Courses at Coursera

I’m currently taking a Cryptology course at Stanford University via Coursera. It came recommended by Bruce Schneier on Security: Free Cryptography Class, and I find it a great way to expand my knowledge. I really appreciate the level. Just enough for it to be challenging and stimulating, but also not too hard or too much work, so I can still fit it in with family and work.

And in addition, the courses are free!

Thanks, Coursera and participating universities for making this possible.

Check it out! There are courses in:

  • Computer Science
  • Mathematics and Statistics
  • Society, Networks, and InformationEconomics, Finance, and Business
  • Humanities and Social SciencesHealthcare, Medicine, and Biology

All provided by professors from top-notch univerities in the US.

I’ve only tried the Cryptology course, but it rocks!


SSH VPN with IP Masquerading (NAT)

I’ve written before about how to access SNMP agents (or other TCP or UDP services) in a network when you only have SSH access. Running a SSH VPN and then running IP Masquerading (NAT) in the remote end is the solution for me so far. Here is how it is done.


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Seeing the Sun’s Path – Android and iPhone apps

I’d like to recommend an Android App for seeing the Sun’s path in Augmented Reality (AR): Sun Surveyor. There is also Sun Seeker for iPhone/iOS, which I haven’t tried since I don’t have an iPhone.

We’re out looking for a house to buy, and for me getting the afternoon and evening sun on the terrace during summer is so incredibly important. This way, I don’t have to take the real-estate agent’s word for where the sun goes down in the summer and whether the trees will create shade on the terrace. I can check it myself. Über-cool!

The graphics are laid out on top of my phone’s camera image, so given the image to the right I can see that on July 9th (almost mid-summer) the sun clears the wall just after 7pm before it goes down at 8:52pm.  A little before that it will be obstructed by the wall in the background though. All visible on one screen.

I guess this could be handy for photographers too, but for buying a house this is indispensable. What surprises me is how all the real-estate agents that I’ve shown it to were blown away by it (or so they pretended :-)) but had never seen or heard about something like that before.

Have fun with it!

Oh, god I hate PDF for on-screen viewing

Honestly, I don’t understand how somebody can prefer PDF to HTML for on-screen viewing. Really? That is possible? If you’re one of them, can you help me understand?

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