Friday, January 23, 2009

Good news for hacker McKinnon

Great news indeed. This was a wonderful example of a big company (US Military and Secret Service and CIA and ...) so up themselves they could not see the wood for the trees. While we all know not to believe everything we read in the press, it seemed reasonably obvious to me that this hacker, Gary McKinnon, was nothing more than interested in probing around for technical and fantasy (UFO sightings) reasons. And they wanted to potentuially incarcerate him in Guantanamo Bay (in cell with big Amjed no doubt), tortue him to find out what he knows and then stick him on a chain gang for 5 of his 9 lifetimes.

My view would be if you can get on via the web then so what? They should have paid the guy 20 Billion Trillion dollars because that is, no doubt, what they will pay Security "experts" to lock down their Windows systems .....

,---- | British hacker Gary McKinnon has won permission from the High Court to | apply for a judicial review against his extradition to the United | States. | | | The 42-year-old from London, who was diagnosed last August as having | Asperger's Syndrome, has admitted hacking into US military computers. `----

Hopefully with the new regime common sense will prevail.

Caveat : I don't support hacking per se. But if you leave your system wide open then people will have a browse around.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Web hosting with Apache and laziness.

For a while I had been ignoring a niggling little issue with my home hosted web site at When you entered the web address the url actually served was Finally I found a straightforward explanation of virtual hosts and using redirect matching which all came together and worked. Here is the link.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Emacs and GIT

I wrote a tutorial a while back to try and get my head around DVC which is a distributed version control system for emacs which claimed GIT support. It's quite good but general concensus on the emacs IRC channel was that Magit was the easiest to use and had far better handling of staging and branching. Well, there's a new boy in two and he's the new cock of the walk.

See Egg for more details.

It has a colour coded interface with context help and "just works".

If you are using Git and need more than the Emacs built in Version Control interface to Git (present in Emacs 23) then I believe you could do a lot worse than Egg.

I need to update my Emacs page to recommend Egg.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Using org-mode and security

There is a great addition to emacs called epa which uses your GnuPG set up encrypt your org file based on public key encryption.

Easy to set up and works great.

See here for more details.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

ibuffers - always something new.

One of the wonderful things with using such a huge and rich environment as Emacs (yes, an envorinment!) is that there is always something new to learn or to use.

Today I happened to wander over to Xah Lee's pages and discovered something called ibuffers. Wonderful interface to the often huge amounts of buffers one might have open in emacs at any one time. And to make it the default list-buffers C-x C-b commans merely define an alias for it

(defalias 'list-buffers 'ibuffer)

You can stack filters based on mode, mark buffers, operate on buffers etc. This is combination with my default C-x b command ido-switch-buffer makes for some powerful uber-geek buffer manipulation and selection.

Xah Lee is an interesting character. My advice is hear him out - he knows emacs back to front but can often appear somewhat reactionary and sharp in the face of criticism from some of the old school emacs users who, to be fair, do not take kindly to young guns criticising Emacs and the design decisions they have taken to get it where it is today. Personally I do believe that the "out of the box" Emacs could and should have a lot more user friendly defaults - the seasoned users that this offends should be more than able to reconfigure it to how they like it. Heresy I know. And thank god burning at the stake is now outlawed ....

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Posting Source Code

I am having trouble with source code posting to blogger. This surprises me since I would have though this had been well covered at this stage in Blogger's life.

I tried this page but that doesnt support s-lisp, and, didn't work for other code either.

The settings in Blogger has something which allows conversion of hard returns to html breaks but that doesn't seem to work when blogging using the emacs client e-blog.

Any suggestions or comments?

Slow NFS Exporting on Debian Solved

I rarely reboot my main machine but when I do the export stage for nfs shares took an intoleranly long time. Googling indicated I should install portmap. It was already installed so I tried reinstalling. Still the same problem when I tried

sudo /etc/init.d/nfs-kernel-server restart

The solution turned out to be quite simple. Rather than needing to configure reverse lookup on the the DNS Server I have running (bind9), I simply added the NFS clients to my local /etc/hosts file.


The time to export is not about half a second as opposed to a minute.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Haskell and multi-term

A nice way to run ghci inside emacs is to use Andy Stewart's terminal plug in multi-term. Simple tab key will complete the ghci command set.

More Emacs Haskell integration here and also some browse-apropos extensions to use Hayoo can be found here. Hayoo is particularly good as it includes XMobar and XMonadContrib.

Twitting for Twits

On the subject of blogs and emacs the most convenient twitter interface I have found is

I modified the one function though to default to selected text.

(defun twit-query-for-post (prompt-heading initial-input)

"Query for a post text in the minibuffer."

(read-string (concat prompt-heading " (140 char max): ")

(if initial-input initial-input (if (zerop(length(region-or-word-at-point))) "" (region-or-word-at-point) ))))

Finally, an emacs blog client which works.

Thanks to Xah Lee for pointing out the wonderful emacs blogging client "e-blog". It lacks some decent default functionality such as defaulting to selected region and assuming a default destination blog, but overrall it's a joy to use and very, very simple to set up.

Ideally org-mode would support a paginating blog minor mode but I think thats some way off. This would be great because a lot of people are already using org-mode to publish their web sites and project details. A blog facility seems a natural extension of this.