Don Park has a good warning post on potential XSS hacks. A typical example of these is Haloscan, who does provide commenting and trackback capabilities also to a number of Finnish bloggers.
However, sometimes no clever hacking is required. Haloscan actually provides RSS feeds of all the comments, making it really easy to subscribe to the comments of a blog. This is cool and clever, and I wholly applaud this. The Feed can be found at:
You can figure out the username by looking at the HTML source, or just by guessing (most people use their blog names).
Up until last weekend, Haloscan also provided IP addresses in the feeds. This meant that IF an anonymous blogger was commenting in his own blog, it was possible to find his IP address. If the said person would then comment on other blogs under his real name (or visit your own blog, where you have some sort of site tracking), it was possible to either figure out his real identity, or at least the Pinseri account name (a known Finnish aggregator). Haloscan has now removed this feature, so it's safe again to use it. I have not checked other comment services whether they also have this issue.
Note that figuring out the IP address does not reveal your identity. But if combined with other information, it may be possible to figure out who you are. Or at least make a very educated guess.
Another issue you have to be careful with if you are an anonymous blogger is that if someone sends you email with a link, don't click it. If you do, something like this might appear on the recipient's log files (let's assume the anonymous blogger has an yahoo.com mail account, and I've sent him an email to ask to come to my weblog.)
cs65129.pp.htv.fi - - [31/Mar/2004:16:52:08 +0300] "GET /ButtUgly/ HTTP/1.1" 200 35547 "http://us.f413.mail.yahoo.com/ym/ShowLetter?MsgId=4207_260177_12756_ 1095_187_0_87_-1_0&YY=51786&inc=25&order=down&sort=date& pos=0&view=a&head=b&box=Inbox" "Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; U; PPC Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/124 (KHTML, like Gecko) Safari/125.1"
cs65129.pp.htv.fi - - [31/Mar/2004:16:59:34 +0300] "GET /ButtUgly/ HTTP/1.1" 200 35558 "-" "Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; U; PPC Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/124 (KHTML, like Gecko) Safari/125.1"
There's now a lot less evidence to tie the mysterious Yahoo user to a specific IP address because of the missing referrer field. Yet, it is still possible, but it will require a bit more data and logic. Of course, if he'd wanted to be absolutely safe, he would've used a service like Anonymizer, in which case the line would look like this:
outgoing.anonymizer.com - - [31/Mar/2004:17:02:12 +0300] "GET /ButtUgly/ HTTP/1.1" 200 34933 "-" "Mozilla/4.78 (TuringOS; Turing Machine; 0.0)"
Not a lot to pinpoint you, yes?
So, a couple of practical tips, if you want to protect your online anonymity:
- Don't click on links from web mail, cut-n-paste them to your address bar.
- Check out all the services that you are using that none of them is leaking information about you
- If possible, use a web proxy (like anonymizer), or only assume your anonymous identity from a location which you do not usually use, like a web cafe
- Try to vary your habits: if your normal email is from hotmail.com, use yahoo.com for your anonymous email. If you have a known blog at blogspot.com, use blogdrive.com for your anonymous one. Use different layouts, styles, etc. If you normally use IE to browse, use Mozilla to post your anonymous comments. The easy and predictable way is always the unsafe way.
- Be prepared that you WILL be revealed sooner or later - your entire reputation could be ruined. Online anonymity is weak, unless you really know what you are doing.
(I'm not touching the issue of embedded images in HTML mail, the so-called "web bugs", which can be used to track your whereabouts even when you do not click on any links, but perhaps I'll talk about them later, and also mention cookies and how they can be used to track you.)
Update: made the log entries a bit narrower so that people who are not using a standards-compliant browser don't get the layout screwed.
Jeremy Zawodny is now also doing the switch. I completely echo is feelings:
I've owned four Thinkpads and ran Linux on all but one of them (the fourth is my Windows box, used mainly for GPS and flight/navigation software nowadays). I've been at this a long, long time. But, you know what? Stuff just works on this Mac. And since all the cool kids are doing it, I have few if any fears that my favorite Open Source tools are already debugged and working there smoothly.
There really are no good reasons left for not switching. I haven't thought of anything I can do on the Linux Thinkpad that I can't do on a Powerbook running Mac OS X. Well, there are some things, but none of them matter to me. That was the important realization here.
I've now had my Powerbook for about five months. During this time, I've had ZERO problems with it. Nada. Zip. I once thought I had a problem with it, but it turned out to be a faulty IMAP server which got a bit confused. My biggest issue with it has been that I could not find the serial number for my cheap-o Panther upgrade. I called the Apple support line, and a very nice guy answered immediately and helped me through it. I don't think I've even read the manuals of this laptop.
The thing is - for an old UNIX geek this Mac is just so bloody intuitive. And since it's UNIX all the way, you can, if you want to, drop down to the lowest level. But you don't have to. That's the beauty of it. I have done twenty years of tweaking of computers. It's enough. I just want things to work - I don't have the time to tweak that crap anymore. And I'm willing to pay a bit more for that privilege. Don't get me wrong - I still think Linux is great and wonderful, and I love to install it everywhere where I can to replace Windows. Hell, if you want to have cheap hardware, you might as well save on the software as well...
But, I find myself using my Powerbook more and more... The only thing I use my Linux box anymore is for file storage (for which it is mightily good, I might add), and coding (big screen, better keyboard). But when I was upgrading the kernel to 2.6 (to get rid of the annoying X scheduling issues and hangups) and rebooted the machine for the 3rd time, I was nearly ready to call Apple Store and order myself a G5...
(Oh yeah, unlike some other Finnish bloggers, I haven't quit blogging. I'm at home, with fever and really almost nothing to blog about. I'm getting ready for a big thingy in Japan next week... In case anyone cares, I'll be in Tokyo from Saturday to Wednesday. Gah. Bad timing for a flu.)
To honor the best Finnish blog of 2003, here's my Sunday List:
- Nights slept at home : 0 (coming home at 7 am does not count as night)
- Hours slept in a bus: 3
- Movies: 1 (Kopps)
- Sauna: 1 (But twice, mmm...)
- Weird "slap together whatever we can find in the cupboard and wok them" -dinners: 1
- Eaten hamburgers: 1 (Sorry everyone, I still do eat them on occasion. Sorry to burst your bubble.)
- Things never done before : 4 (Good weekend)
- Things never done in public before : 1 (Good, but strange weekend)
- New whiskies tasted: 1. (A simply gorgeous and rich Glenfiddich 21 years old Havana Reserve. One of the best I've ever tasted.)
- New people met: countless
- Number of hours spent reading the Pinseri Top-200: 7
- Anonymous comments posted on blogs to feed the general discussion on the awards: 27 (Ha, you can't check, now can you? ;-)
- Non-anonymous comments posted: 3
- Number of meters: 47
And the best - hands down - Kuukkeli discussion thread is running on Kalamuki (Finnish only). *grin*
I've had an incoming link from the most surprising direction: The Ihanainen blog, who calls me a "Dunno" -type of personality. You know, the kinda guy who always shrugs and says "well, I dunno" if you ask something, but if you keep real quiet, you might get a lot of good commentary and opinions out of him.
Well... I don't know.
Perhaps, I am sometimes. Some of the time I have to keep my mouth shut in order not to hurt anyone. Or if the discussion is going to the direction where I want it to go, I don't bother to say anything. Or that I know that I can remedy all the damage afterwards, and commenting on anything will just make things go slower.
It's the principle of least energy expenditure. Unless I get this weird urge to blab whatever my brain is not thinking. Then all bets are off.
Hum. Well, at least she liked the party.
Anyway. I'm off to a yet another party. And as per Mindy's recommendation, I shall publish a Sunday list tomorrow to honor Schizo-Janne, the Best Finnish Weblog of 2003.
Be assured, there will be some. So, everybody, you can already start jogging for positions now.
My personal favourite for "The Funniest Conversation of 2004" is currently occurring on the comment section of Ihmissuhteet (Finnish only). It's simply hilarious.
Okay. Now that I have actually calmed down a bit, and had a nice steaming mug of tea, I can try and gather my wildly rampaging thoughts of the evening. Here are some moments and flashes from the evening:
- Being the IRC host. I hope nobody thought I was badly drunk - I just could not see the keyboard because I was in the corner and there was only little light.
- Windows (the one running the big screen) crashed at the beginning of the show. Yay. Hopefully nobody noticed.
- (We should've projected the IRC channel on screen in the cases where we knew the winner was on the channel - note to self)
- Being the IRC host was fun also because I got to be a proxy for people - I delivered a kiss to Shine (though I did not know that she was Shine, bugger), hugged Tira & Mindy, and would have had my face bashed in by Mikki, IF I had delivered the requested kiss.
- Getting a chance to talk with the beautiful, smart and talented Kanerva, the evening's only double winner. It was a pleasure.
- The man who walked in, looked at us with some relief on his face and said: "Good. I was almost certain this was a hoax, you know."
- For once in my life, having an ample amount of drink coupons in my pocket. Drinks that someone else would pay for.
- Being called "the second best dressed man in the room". By a lady I did not know beforehand, nonetheless. Of course, the best dressed man was Mike P, but I'm used to losing to him. Losing things like my Robin Hood tapes. Grr.
- Being in the corner for the most of the show, and missing a lot mostly because a tall Greek God blocked my view. But the IRC party was cool, even though the GPRS was patchy at times.
- My very own award :)
- Seeing all of the people mingle, talk, get to know each other. So many were present (I counted 50 at one point, probably missed a few). It felt good.
- Earl Grey's nice hat, which I completely neglected to mention during the evening, so I'll do it here.
- "Yeah, I read that in your blog. It was funny."
- The feeling of fulfilment after all of the plotting and scheming.
I wish to thank my fellow jury members, and all of my readers who voted for me. Without you, this blog might not exist. Thank you.
The rest of the results are now up!
Thank you to all of you wonderful people who participated. There were more of you than I expected and feared :)
Without you, there would be so much less to write about.
Ooookay. So, I gots this gala coming up in about two hours. Many things are still not done. I hope we can get GPRS connectivity down there, so we can publish the whole thing in IRC (IRCNet, #bloggaajat) as well. Everybody, be welcome.
My hands are shaking. I've been typing non-stop all week.
I can't think straight. I haven't had a good night's sleep in days.
I can feel the adrenaline rush coming on. It's the same rush you get right before you get into a fight, or when you are about to face a formidable opponent on the go board. It's odd: how did being fun become so serious?
I'll be so glad when this is over.
So, the Finnish blog awards ceremony is tomorrow evening. The board is set, and the pieces are moving. We are expecting a big crowd and a wonderful, magic-filled night.
I booked myself a teleconference at 8 am on Friday - just because I calculated a timezone difference the WRONG WAY! And now it's too late to change it. ARG! Either timezones, or people who are bad at maths should be declared illegal. I really, really don't like this timezone lottery...
People who are not working for global companies do not know what they are missing.
Update: Luckily other people did also screw up with the calculations (I mean, out of like, five engineers, apparently only TWO can count!?!?), and so the meeting's off. Phew. Saved by a calculator.
"In sociological terms, Janne, you're what we call Technosexual Curious. In singles' ads, use TC. Or BL (Big Loser)"
Take the test. I wonder, if it is possible even to receive some other result? :)
Update: Of course, see also http://www.technosexual.org.
Marc Andreessen (co-founder of Netscape) has this wonderful list of 103 words why Open Source will prevail. I personally couldn't agree more on #6 and #7. What the man said.
- "The Internet is powered by open source."
- "The Internet is the carrier for open source."
- "The Internet is also the platform through which open source is developed."
- "It's simply going to be more secure than proprietary software."
- "Open source benefits from anti-American sentiments."
- "Incentives around open source include the respect of one's peers."
- "Open source means standing on the shoulders of giants."
- "Servers have always been expensive and proprietary, but Linux runs on Intel."
- "Embedded devices are making greater use of open source."
- "There are an increasing number of companies developing software that aren't software companies."
- "Companies are increasingly supporting Linux."
- "It's free."
(Via Slashdot, which is BTW a lot nicer when read through bloglines.)
On Friday night, 23 lives suddenly ended, crushed under rolls of paper and flying metal.
In a tragedy this big, and in a country as small as Finland, it is almost inevitable that it touches you or someone you know. Be it a brother of a friend, or someone you once taught, or someone you know used to work with.
It hurts, even when watched from far away.
I cannot imagine the pain that those closer by must be feeling.
Farewell, you beautiful souls. You will be missed.
On Wednesday, I witnessed an amazing technological feat that we have never been able to do before:
I am sitting in a pub - your average pub - discussing the blog awards. So, my mate writes down notes with his trusty Windows XP laptop. The night draws to a close, and we face the task of moving the text file to my laptop, which is at home.
He beams the file to his PocketPC machine. It opens there - we are amazed.
He then beams the file to my Nokia cell phone. I am now completely flabbergasted, because it actually opens in the Note pad of the cell phone! No character set errors, no broken line breaks!
I walk home, and send the file from my phone to my Powerbook using Bluetooth. And lo and behold! It WORKS! Seamlessly, perfectly! I have never (and I mean never!) in all my computing life seen things like this work on the first try.
Transfer of a plain text file (with Finnish characters, so no pure ASCII!) from Windows XP -> Pocket PC -> Symbian -> Mac OSX. We have truly come far.
I wait the future with breathless anticipation.
(Following announcement in Finnish - no worries, just a cry for some help):
Jos jollakulla lukijoistani sattuu olemaan kykyä järjestää kuukkeligaalaan internet-yhteys (siis parempi kuin GPRS) paikkaan, jossa sellaista ei tiettävästi ole, niin ottakaa yhteyttä. Aikaa on noin ensi torstaihin (virallinen ilmoitus tulee illemmalla, mutta pitäkää tätä alustavana vihjeenä) ja paikka on noin Helsingin ydinkeskusta.
Testataanpa, miten tämä sosiaalinen verkotus ja blogosfääri toimii :)
Niin, sanotaan nyt vielä varmuuden vuoksi: gaala torstaina 25.3. Ole paikalla ja tapaa Suomen eturivin bloggaajat elävinä. Tai kuolleina. Kunhan tulevat paikalle.
There is a hint of a festival in the air.
(The Kuukkeli statuettes courtesy of the beautiful and talented Misu.)
Parents! Let your kids play with sand. They might be onto something.
It's beautiful. Watch it.
You know how computers start trashing when they run out of memory? They just keep hitting the hard drive all over again, trying to swap between tasks, but end up using most of their time moving bits in and out of the memory to the hard drive.
I've come to realize that I do sort of the same thing. When I get tired I start flipping between my email, a document, my web mail, check the stats on my weblog, check new weblog posts, another document, iTunes, news sites, IRC channels... You know - essentially all of the windows that I have open on my desktop.
And I get nothing done, because I am slicing myself too thin. Too much time is used to do the swapping. Hence "trashing".
It is a sure sign to go home. Or go to bed. Whichever happens to be more handy.
- Bjorn Again - the ABBA revival band
- Shania Twain
I've actually seen BA before, in Melbourne. Love them!
They're actually playing now, so I am really concertblogging! Woohoo! Rock!
(Should've brought earplugs. Dammit. Too loud.)
Update: Back. All in all, a very enjoyable concert. What really impressed me was the ease with which Shania took the audience. The stage was low, and people were let really close - she signed autographs, shook hands, and took gifts. After all the fright and scares (and security checks at the door - for some reason a security girl took a really long time with me) we have been forced to endure in the past couple of years, it was really refreshing to see someone approach the audience so openly. Good for her!
Oh yeah, and the fireworks were rather impressive.
Whether incurable romantic or caring optimist, your style is undeniably Klimtian. Like all romantics, you tend to think with your heart. And why not? Great things often come with a healthy dose of passion attached. When it comes to matters that matter — whether love, or injustice, or freedom — you’re rarely one to follow the crowd. In fact, you possess the rare gift of courage, along with the self-confidence to stand up for your convictions. We’d guess you’ve swum against the current once or twice before. And where something you care about is concerned, we’ve no doubt you’d do it again.
The Gustav Klimt gallery. And the test, but it's accuracy is of questionable value. *grin*
I do kinda like his work, tho'.
Folks, if you have any specific memories, stories, good comments on your blog, events, interblogistic discussions, or something you wish to share from the Finnish blogging year 2003; either drop me some email or blog them. The best ones will be shared in the Kuukkeli Award Ceremony.
"Maailma on erilainen roolipelaajan silmin." ;)
Update: For my English readers, the above Finnish sentence means "The world looks different through the eyes of a roleplayer", which is a reference to an ingenious Finnish advertising campaign. The picture is from a supermarket, and the signs say "BUY", "MORE", "SAVE". What a dystopian world we live in... :)
If your blog does not support Atom or RSS, you are not on the list. I might still read you through Pinseri, though.
Update: Look right. Scroll down the page. Look for "Blogs I read". My blogroll is now automatically included on this weblog - that's cool, right? And yeah, I know I could include the Pinseri list as well - but it would require a bit more tweaking than I am currently capable of taking on.
Ewan says that the Spirit probe took a picture of Earth from Mars.
This is one of the things that has always me feel comforted. And sad, at the same time. But yet, it fills me with hope. And despair. The realization of our insignificance, and potential. That picture contains everyone you ever knew, and everything that we ever did. But the fact that we could even take such a picture gives us hope.
The Pale Blue Dot by Carl Sagan. Read it.
Update: Nice article on the subject in Astrobiology Magazine.
...still no pain (thank you Tira and others for encouraging me, though). I can feel some of my muscles I usually don't feel, but mostly they're fine.
This nice SecurityFocus article from The Register points out a bunch of things that you should be aware of. Like how Google can be your best pal, or your worst privacy nightmare. Or in many cases, your company's worst nightmare.
The biggest issue about security is not the technology. It's the people - and the lack of understanding. Technology is already pretty incomprehensible to most people, and the dangers are rather unfathomable. It's kinda like giving this very dangerous tool to everyone, and then letting them play with it. It's much like the car industry in the early 20th century. It took a long time for proper rules for road behaviour to emerge - and we're currently reliving that phase with computers.
(Via Dan Gillmor.)
(Spent yesterday evening having my first riding lesson ever. I am feeling much less pain today than I was supposed to - false advertising, waa! :)
Helsinki University is now offering a blogging environment, with integrated RSS aggregation (Finnish only) to teachers, professors and faculty members. Janka wonders why this thing is driven by the Social Sciences faculty, not the CS faculty. Me, personally - I don't wonder at all. If you look at the whole phenomenon from a CS point of view, it is damn near trivial. The technologies are nothing new, even RSS for all its purported complexity is actually something even a well-educated highschooler can grasp in just a few minutes.
CS-wise, there is nothing really interesting in blogging. You can write your own blogging software relatively easily (I know, I've done it).
But blogs, wikis, Orkut, LinkedIn, email, news - it all ties together in a bigger sphere commonly known as Social Software. Software that's better because of the people who are using it. And that is what makes the whole phenomenon far more interesting - the people in it. Not the technology.
I think this is the main difference between the old-style CSCW and the new, lighter content management systems (weblogs and wikis): the name CSCW already tells you that it is about "Computer Supported Cooperative Work". Work is mostly not about people. Work is about making money, so that you can have a life outside the company - support your kids, have fun, travel, whatever. Social software is about making it easier to do the stuff that you are earning the money for. To do the stuff that you care about.
That's the key reason why the new, "Computer Supported Cooperative Being" (CSCB), is working and spreading rapidly. Technorati is tracking nearly two million weblogs now. This study suggests that 44% of adult internet users in the USA have already contributed something to the vast archive of the Internet. And this in the ten years that the Internet has really been accessible to the general public.
No, with masses like this, I don't wonder at all about why the Social Sciences faculty is interested in blogging.
I got introduced to a new person on Saturday. Ok, so he's a cool sci-fi geek, and I'm a...
"This is the guy who does strange things and puts them on the internet."
I was kinda surprised. I knew the introducer from several years back, and we had had a lot more encounters in Ropecon and other completely non-web related thingies. I wasn't quite sure if she read my blog at all until now. So I asked why she would introduce me as a blogger, not as a gamer.
"Because that's what you're famous for", she replied.
Ok. Scared now.
Alarm clock ringing. Shut it off three times. Then realized it was somebody calling.
Sheesh. Some people can't take a joke.
Shoot me now, please. Make the evil go away.
The weather was beautiful, so I decided to stay indoors and code all day. Then, in a sudden burst of (in?)sanity (with some prodding from a fellow being) I went to see the Helmut Newton exhibition, open for the last day. I was sort of disappointed, since the exhibition is relatively small, but those photographs that were there, were really rather good.
If the exhibition had been a whiskey, I would describe it as: "strong, provocative, with a surprising mellow nose. Hints of vanilla, which disappear under a complex bouquet of tobacco, nuts, and leather. The aftertaste is long, yet slightly oily and metallic. Good as a pre-dinner dram, to be enjoyed with friends of similar tastes."
And now, back to some complex decisions. And some real whiskey. ;-)
...has been happening. Had two parties today with good friends, fine wine and excellent whiskey. It was good to see everyone, and be connected again. Even for a little while.
Oh yeah, and the nightmare of every blogger happend: my parents found my blog.
Hi mom! *waves hand*
The first grand meeting of the Kuukkeli jury is now over. After a long debate on the procedures we got down to business - choosing the awards. Utilizing the latest innovations in social software technology and connectivity we embarked on the hard journey, a path on which few bloggers have ever trodden. I shall let my colleagues to speak for themselves, but for me, the process is pretty much summed up in the following quote:
- Morale? I think someone blogged about it, but the link didn't work...
Well, we did manage to prune most of the categories down to two or three candidates. And secure at least one well known blog personality to present one of the awards. We shall continue this tiresome, yet extremely rewarding work over the weekend. Stay tuned for more updates.
Ado picked the meme up as well. Interestingly, now when I look at the different pictures, it seems to me that those, who own Macs, tend to put them on the foreground or make them otherwise distinguishable, whereas those who own PCs tend to put them slightly in the background, and stress the environment instead of the computer.
Then again, your average Mac does look better than your average PC. But perhaps it is more of a pride issue - "look at me, I am a part of this small club of people. People who know better. We like things that look good, and we are not afraid to show them."
Interesting. Perhaps I'm just imagining things, but in my few months of being a Mac user, I've certainly felt the "Mac spirit" to touch and embrace myself. The feeling of being an underdog, but still "knowing" you are better than everyone else. The back-patting, the visits to Apple stores, listening on Steve Job's keynotes, the general feeling of belonging...
It's a weird thing when your computer stops being a computer, and becomes closer to a lifestyle.
Why don't you post yours?
(Via SchizoBlog and Mea)
Update: The most cognitionally astute of you have already probably noticed that I've switched to using Bloglines as my RSS reader. Yeah, it's that good. I read my blogs from my home laptop, home desktop, work laptop, and work desktop, and Bloglines is the first one that works seamlessly across these systems. It has a pretty slick interface for a web app, which has been the main reason why I've so far stayed away from browser-based aggregators. It also allows you to publish your blog roll very easily - you can see my 66 subscriptions here, if you are of the voyeuristic type.
This highly interesting article suggests that information does not disappear when matter falls into a black hole, but is instead stored in a complex string structure.
Now, does this mean that life could exist also in a black hole? Thoughts traveling in the vibrations of the strings, creatures living under conditions we are not equipped to fathom. Living in an expanding universe of their own, having no notion of the physical world we know...
Rannva dropped this URL on an older blog entry, so I figured I should pop it up to a larger readership, since it's just too cool:
Orion's Arm Worldbuilding Group.
A huge collection of Creative Commons -licensed alternative world history (and future) that should make the soul of every hardcore sci-fi fan tickle. I only took a quick glance through it, but already I started getting ideas...
I think this is another good example on how uncoordinated efforts of dedicated amateurs can produce things that rival commercial alternatives. I don't think it replaces them, though, but it can be a good choice among many. The Internet has really allowed a whole new kind of collaboration efforts to take place, things that were rather difficult to do before. Essentially the Internet is now doing the job of the scientific journals, and it is not surprising that many of the academic papers are being published on the Internet first these days...
The trams and stars don't care. They just travel on their paths, unaware of the problems of the insignificant little creatures that happen to be traveling along.
Okay. Why is everyone - and I mean everyone - having a "I am too busy to do anything! Waa!" -day today? The good thing is that I am getting far less personal email today than normally, but then again, I wouldn't have time to reply to it anyway.
Why is the 1st of March such a special day?
(And yes, I am taking this time to blog even though I really don't have the time. Just had a two minute breather to make a cup of tea.)
Private comments? Drop me an email. Or complain in a nearby pub - that'll help.
|"Main" last changed on 10-Aug-2015 21:44:03 EEST by JanneJalkanen.|