Monthly Archives: September 2009

SILT: Aptana SFTP and symbolic links edition

The van and some wind power

The van and some wind power

Short post today because I’m too tired to think at the moment. Something I learned just now is that Aptana Studio, my web development editor of choice, does not follow symbolic links when you’re syncing through SFTP (ftp over ssh). Furthermore, Dreamhost, my general-purpose host because I got 2 years for 20 bucks, doesn’t support FTPS (ftp with ssl). So Aptana will hang while it tries to connect (and there’s no cancel button). And now I have to use FTP, which is of course insecure. Edit: And FTP doesn’t work either. I will have to think about/research this more later.

And don’t even get me started on Django and WSGI. On the brighter side of things, Dreamhost has git, yay.

SILT: bcrypt, IZZE, and burp edition

Delicious drank

Delicious drank

  • For all password storage, use bcrypt. Don’t use salted md5, definitely don’t use plain text. Also, don’t email users their passwords. The crypt() function in PHP actually has the blowfish algorithm alternative built in for versions >5.3.0, though you may want to set up the system libraries yourself, to allow for updates.
  • I recently invested in some IZZE sparkling juice. It’s pretty much carbonated juice cocktails. There are a few flavors and I’ve tried the Pomegranate, Clementine, and Grapefruit. Cranberry’s cranberry, Clementine is ok, Pomegranate could taste more like pomegranate, but is still good, and Grapefruit is probably the best. Grapefruit’s a little too sweet, so I like to add some tonic water. For drinkers, these would probably be great mixers. I get mine on Amazon, where they go on sale every once in a while for like $15 for 24.
  • Speaking of security and carbonated things, you’ve got to check out Burp Suite. It is an amazing application for security testing web applications. It automatically fuzzes apps. For the click-lazy, fuzzing is just providing wildly invalid data where only a computer could think to put it. As soon as I develop something security-sensitive, ya’ll know I’m buying this.

SILT: Stuff I Learned Today

This is my dad wearing a pair of shades I found.

This is my dad wearing a pair of shades I found.

This is the first in an indefinite series of catch-all blogposts. Now that school is up and my schedule is more regular I think I can make a few more minutes a day to log some findings and post some links. Also, I’m thinking that by presenting a more innocuous task (a short, general post, as opposed to a long, targeted one), I might find myself sowing the seeds of expanded posts.

Also, sometimes I feel silly calling up friends and telling them each individually about cool junk when I know they’re all subscribed to this baby right here. Content will range from factoids to news to mini-rants to Linux and beyond. So:

  • Peep Show Season 6 has started. I might need to cache up the whole season before I start, it’s such dark goodness. 9.5/10 on imdb with 5,200+ votes? Intense.
  • I found out a way for a Linux machine to dynamically get a hostname on a Microsoft Active Directory network that isn’t set up to update hostnames via DHCP. This was ridiculously hard and I strongly suggest you contact me if you ever run into this issue. It involves kerberos and this one-off script.
  • I’m watching Kate Humble’s 4-part series of Middle Eastern travel, The Frankincense Trail. It’s from the BBC and it’s not too bad. It probably is a bit too frankincense-centric to be honest, what with her hauling her own little load of frankincense everywhere and asking everyone whether their people use or used frankincense. The most interesting tidbit I picked up is that apparently some parts if not all of Israel enforce some crazy Shabbat rules. For instance, you can’t use (technically be directly involved in the use of) anything electrical. You can ride an elevator, but you can’t press the buttons (it stops on all floors). You can open a fridge and grab something, but you have to tape the light sensor down beforehand. All this because it’s the ‘day of rest’. I’m wondering how universally this stuff is implemented.
  • Last, but certainly not least, Oyama is back up at the address. My $30 Time Warner lets me upload at like 300kb/s so please be courteous and only max out my connection at night or during the workday. Also, I’ll know who my true friends are based on who logs in first (only my true friends use RSS and FTP).

Well, here’s hoping that wasn’t too painful, because I’m planning on learning a lot of stuff and posting about it. And then, this series of blog posts, like its namesake (silt), will provide me and my offspring a fertile farmland on which to raise agricultural goods.

What I learned from the gym

You walk into your local fitness center, what do you see? Provided it’s been long enough since the New Year, you’re probably going to see predominantly fit people. And even before you pick up those relatively puny dumbells for the first time, you’ve started to second guess yourself. Maybe the gym is only meant for the strapping Gastons of the world, and you just aren’t cut out for it.

Of course, here’s where the lesson comes into play. If you take a look around and you notice a noticeable lack of people like you, then over time there are two basic scenarios that can unfold:

  1. You leave and the population becomes a little less heterogenous
  2. You become like them and the population becomes a little more homogenous

Pretty sweet setup, eh? All you’ve got to do is stick around and do your thing, and in a matter of time I’m sure you’ll be sporting all manner of muscle.

So here I am, at PayPal, surrounded by people who are, on average, around 7 years my senior, and seemingly 7 times my skill level in programming. At first I was a bit daunted, troubled by the mad skillz of my coworkers. Then I realized that the same people who hired them hired me, and if I just do what I do, I shouldn’t be too much longer than it took them.

In fact, the reason I was daunted was because I am able to appreciate their skill. And that appreciation serves as motivation to keep improving myself and to stay humble, yet confident, along the way.
Ira Glass, host of This American Life on NPR, describes the process for working in the creative field, to which software engineering is no exception. In fact, thanks to benchmarks, easy comparison of solutions, and overall high competitiveness in the field, it might even be a little tougher to be a coder.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, it’s been a while since I’ve been to the gym. But my CSS is getting crazy ripped.