Trigger Happy

geek

xkcd: Tech Support Cheat Sheet

by on Aug.24, 2009, under geek, tech

I can't resist. I have to post this...
tech_support_cheat_sheet
(click to make it big)

Tech Support Cheat Sheet - [xkcd]

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We've Moved!

by on Aug.15, 2009, under gaming, geek, IRL, tech

Since my wife has joined the scene, we've decided to rename our blog and give it a bit more focus. She came up with the name "Trigger Happy" which we both liked but unfortunately, squaters are holding triggerhappy.com for a $70,000 ransom. Considering we'd have to take out a second mortgage (and then some) to snatch that domain, we decided to go with TriggerHappy.me for practically free in comparison.

So here we are at TriggerHappy.me!

Old links and feeds will still work so nothing needs to be done on your end unless you don't like seeing the old domain. Happy Fragging!

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100 Essential Skills for Geeks

by on Jul.10, 2009, under geek

I'm not sure if I should be proud of this or not but I can do at least 80 of the skills listed in the article below...

100 Essential Skills for Geeks - [Wired.com]

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Google Apps is out of beta (yes, really)

by on Jul.07, 2009, under geek, tech

Google Apps out of beta

I never thought I'd see the day. Google Apps is finally out of beta. But just in case removing the beta tag lessens its "cool" factor, you can re-enable the beta tag in the logo from the settings menu in Gmail.

Google may have a different view of "beta" software but I think its a wise route to go. Especially in Google's case where they're providing such feature rich online applications for free. Besides the obvious liability issues, they also gain some breathing room when it comes to implementing new features. If something doesn't work the first day they put it out, they can avoid a lot of flack by saying its in beta. While that might seem like a cop-out, it allows them to test with a huge volume right off the bat to eliminate scaling and compatibility issues. Its not always ideal for the end users but that's something you just have to weigh against its obvious benefits as well as against its competitors. Personally, I haven't had any major issues with any of the Google Apps and they are extremely handy.

The only reason I regret to see Google Apps leave beta is that it may slow the rate that they implement new features. The Labs features will remain but they certainly won't be moving features into the mainstream as fast as they have in the past. Of course that's just my speculation, but taking the beta tag off usually implies they'll keep the products stable and will try their hardest to avoid introducing new bugs. That means they'll have a more careful and slower development cycle.

Google Apps is out of beta (yes, really) - [Official Google Blog]

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Iranian Activists Enabled by US Technology

by on Jun.26, 2009, under geek, tech

Onion routing is some seriously cool secure networking. This is way beyond encrypted tunnels. Basically you have a series of "onion routers" which each have their own public/private keys. When you send a message to the first router, it randomly picks a series of the other routers and encrypts the message with each of those routers' public keys. Then it sends the message to the last router who's key was used to encrypt it. That router decrypts it and sends the message to the next router who's key was used to encrypt the message. So you have multiple layers of encryption, each router peels a layer from the "onion" and sends it to the next router creating a completely random path. When it reaches its destination, the response is put in the included "reply onion" and sent back a different path. Therefore not even the destination knows the origin!

In order to compromise this, one must either have control of ALL the onion routers, or break the multiple layers of encryption. Sounds pretty solid to me.

I just have to note one thing though, the Wired article is inaccurate since its saying they're poking holes in Iran's firewall. Really its not poking holes. Poking holes implies you've hacked the firewall and opened up access to something that was previously blocked. This tech is sending encrypted packets through protocols and ports that are apparently still open. Whoever controls the firewall could easily block known onion routers or block the protocols/ports they're using, making it a much more difficult first hop. They also do not mention if this traffic is masked as simple web traffic or what. Onion routing is simply a means to disguise the origin, destination, path, and messages, not for bypassing firewalls. However, if the firewalls block Twitter.com, for example, the firewall would not know to block these onion messages going to a random onion router who's final destination is Twitter.com. Still, that's not "poking holes" in anyone's firewall. That's just being sneaky.

Must reads:
Activists Use U.S. Tech to Poke Holes in Iran Firewall - [Wired]
Onion Routing - [Wikipedia]

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