Random Notes

Mebe and the Remote Shell

What better way to spend a slow weekend than by writing another blog engine? Plenty, actually, but that’s what I did anyway. The result of this work: Mebe! This blog is now powered by a wonderful mix of Elixir and Phoenix. It has all the features that Laine had, with the addition of an actually working Disqus comment system. It’s also search engine indexable, which I thought I didn’t care about, until I didn’t have it anymore. Not that I’m aiming for tons of visitors, but writing about some tech problem I have fixed is kind of pointless if no one can find the post by googling for it.

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Emoji Support for WeeChat

Unicode versions 7 and 8 have added many new emoji to the standard. These emojis first became available in mobile phones and are supported by default on modern Android and iOS devices. OS X also has a builtin emoji input method. As such, emojis are beginning to appear on IRC too and it’s useful to be able to see them.

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🎼 Shairport and the Joys of Multi-Room Audio 🎵

I love listening to music. I carry my music collection wherever I go (in the form of an MP3 player), be it work, school or vacation. My last.fm profile logs tens of tracks every day and can probably creepily accurately pinpoint when I’m at work, alone at home or travelling from place to place. With this said, listening to music at home has earlier been somewhat of a chore – or at least I feel like it now.

Since I’m pretty often on the move with my laptop, I grew tired of having to pull the audio cord from the living room stereo receiver every time I wanted to listen to something. And when I did listen to something, I often alternated between the living room and the kitchen, where nothing was playing. Sometimes I resorted to putting the receiver in the living room at full blast to kind of hear it everywhere in the apartment – sorry neighbors.

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Welcome to Vanha-Juva!

This advertisement has been paid for by the Travel & Tourism Board of Vanha-Juva.

Vanha-Juva, the forgotten jewel of western Finland.

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Sweden Sans, The Official Köttbulle Font

It seems Sweden has managed to do what other countries have long been attempting — they have eradicated the use of Comic Sans in their government’s official communications. How? By inventing their own font called Sweden Sans (scroll down a bit on the page) and mandating its use on all official branding. And it looks pretty damn cool.

Sweden Sans demo

So cool, in fact, that I just had to put it to some use so I made it the default heading font on this blog. Granted it looks kinda silly because the rest of the site is very plain, but I’ll get there some day when I have an excess of free time. In the meantime, our western neighbours were kind enough to include all the necessary web font formats and even example CSS in the download.

But I’m still missing something. Though it’s mentioned in the example texts, there’s no download for Sweden Mono Sans. If it was available, I’d probably try it out in my terminal instantly — if only just because of morbid curiosity.

I also think Finland could follow this example and come up with a font of our own. A font that would gather the whole nation as one and make us forget our petty differences. A font already etched into the hearts of millions of Finns. Maybe we can start here:


SuperFish – Race to the Bottom

Earlier this morning it was reported that Lenovo is installing adware to their new laptops. This piece of adware is called SuperFish, and it basically MITM’s your connections — including secure ones — and inserts ads into webpages you visit. This in itself should be alarming and is an extremely scummy thing to do, but now things have taken a turn for the worse. Yes, it can get even worse.

Since Lenovo has installed a root CA of their own on the computer, they can basically make your browser trust any site they want by using the CA to create certificates for them. But now everyone can. A couple of people have already extracted the private key from the adware app and bruteforced the terrible, inexcusably bad password. A password of only 7 characters in length, consisting of nothing but lowercase a–z characters. komodia. Really, that’s it right there.

So now anyone can create certificates that new Lenovo machines automatically trust. Shame on you, Lenovo.

And yes, I know Lenovo is not directly responsible because they didn’t make the adware, but they shouldn’t have added some in the first place. At the very least they should have had oversight, because this is complete buffoonery. Hopefully some heads will roll as a result. This race to the bottom where laptops are preinstalled with bloat in ever increasing crappiness must stop.

In case you are using a Lenovo computer and want to check if you are vulnerable, try going here. If you get a security warning from your browser, you are safe. If not, douse your computer in some holy water and go make an angry call to Lenovo support.

Nurina – The Elixir URI parser

I had some free time this weekend, so I decided to pick up on an old piece of code I wrote back when I started learning Elixir. It’s a URI parser I called Nurina (the word nurina is Finnish and means grumbling or complaining — it sounded funny and it contains the word URI). It’s not really a well put together piece of code but more of a learning excercise. I also decided to avoid using regular expressions entirely and instead used pattern matching to parse the whole URI — an additional challenge.

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Pitot on OpenRepos

As my first OpenRepos release ever, Pitot is now available for download there. You can find it here.

This is just a temporary step to get the app available for people until it is accepted in Harbour, the Jolla app store.

nicd.nytsoi.net In Memoriam

I removed my old blog at nicd.nytsoi.net today and pointed Nginx to serve a permanent redirect to this site instead. The old blog served me from my days on the once free webhost 3rror.com, to my first webhotel and from there through three different VPS installations to where we are now. When I started, WordPress wasn’t the household name it now is and the web was very different. I wrote for years about stuff I saw, did and felt…

And I’m glad the blog is gone. Because that shit was embarrassing. Funny how your opinion of your own cleverness changes when time passes. Also I got fed up with updating WP every two weeks and fearing that the next time I visited, it would’ve been replaced with greetings from my friendly neighborhood hacker group. Aaand I had stopped posting somewhere in 2011.

RIP in pieces.


Pitot released

Pitot — my SailfishOS GPS/GLONASS speedometer app — has reached a state where I’m confident to release it for others to use. You can download the RPM in the BitBucket repository.

Some screenshots showing the basic functionality below:

Screenshot 1

Screenshot 2

Screenshot 3

Some notes about the accuracy when using with the Jolla phone:

The app is feature complete and I’ll just wait until QtPositioning is allowed in Harbour to publish it. There’s still one little problem, the font is really jagged and ugly. I tried following a Jolla employee’s instructions in setting the text’s renderType to Text.NativeRendering but it seems to have no effect. I’ll take a better look at that later. (Also the logo is quite ugly, but I’m bad at graphics, so any help on that would be much appreciated!)

If you encounter any problems, I’d appreciate bug reports or even pull requests in the BitBucket repository!