Biting the bullet

It’s a great place to be! I’ve been here some time now, and I, for one, have sure have enjoyed it so far! All the stuff I saw, all the places I’ve been, and all of the people I’ve met… I cherish all of the memories shared with them. But it has to stop now. At least the way I’ve been enjoying it lately. It’s not the same anymore. This place is getting darker by the minute. And I no longer want to be part of all these things that are ruining it.Facebook delete account Continue reading Biting the bullet

Molly-guard to save the day

If you have one or multiple boxes running somewhere at a remote location and you manage them trough ssh, you’re possibly familiar with the following situation.
It has been a long night.
On your desktop there are multiple terminals gaping in the dark.
During the whole night, some of these dark ships transported you to far remote playgrounds and back.
The other  ones were mere destined for local hocus-pocus.
But it’s time to call it a day and go to bed.
You fire away the ‘poweroff’ command just to realize a fraction of a second later that this was the window to your homebrew webserver…

But it’s too late.
The connection is lost and the machine has no wake on lan…
Now you have to get out of your chair, find those damned pants and go all the way up to the attic to switch it back on.

No one likes this horrible situation. So Molly-guard is here to save the day.
Molly-guard is is a bunch of scripts that capture the halt, reboot, shutdown and poweroff  commands and give you a second chance.
By checking if the tty has been created by sshd, it checks whether you’re logged on from a remote machine.
If that’s the case, molly asks you the hostname of the machine you want to shut down.
If the hostname you entered does not match the hostname where Molly is running on, you’re saved 🙂

You might think this is a silly tool, but after a long time of silence, I’m back to using my home server and just saw this screen:

A little cool thing to know:

A shield to prevent tripping of some Big Red Switch by clumsy or ignorant hands. Originally used of the plexiglass covers improvised for the BRS on an IBM 4341 after a programmer’s toddler daughter (named Molly) frobbed it twice in one day. Later generalized to covers over stop/reset switches on disk drives and networking equipment. In hardware catalogues, you’ll see the much less interesting description “guarded button”.


Molly-guard man page from ubuntu: here

Must see documentary on Privacy [Dutch]

Yesterday there was this documentary on the state of the internet, privacy and security (in Belgium).
The  idea was based on David Bond‘s movie/experiment “Erasing David“.

Dirk Leestmans (journalist) hired a private security audit and asked him to hack Freek Braeckman‘s computer and bank account within the next three days.

Dirk also goes deeper on the different used technologies applied by the Belgian Police force to track people.

Watch the video:

Open Data in the city of Ghent

Yesterday was my first visit to a GentM event.
The topic of the evening: “Open Data”. (Someone even mentioned Smart Cities)

Someone (didn’t catch the name) talked about the digitalized University Library Ghent.
They pointed out that they’ve already gathered a lot of data and made it publicly available.
On the top of their homepage, there’s a link to available downloads and API’s for the people wanting to be creative with their data.

Next up was Pieter Colpaert, the father of the famous iRail going for word domination.
Pieter explained how iRails started, how they do it, and their goal (which is world domination).
His presentation:

After the awesome talk of Pieter, the microphone was passed on to Bart Rosseau.
Bart works as the Strategic Communication Advisor for the city.
He shared the view of the city on Open Data and what they want and will do for the public.
He noted that it’s obviously not as simple as just opening everything up to everyone, as there are privacy concerns etc…
He promised that there will be data available starting somewhere in the middle of May on
Probably on the 14th of May (source:
His presentation:

It’s not clear on which data will be placed in the public domain and/or under which license the data will be put.
So let’s keep our eyes open for changes on the page.

After his talk I’m glad I can conclude that there’s awareness on Open Data and Open Source within the city ​​council.