Introducing BCachefs

Well this is interesting:

An ex-Google engineer is developing a new file system for Linux, with the hopes that it can offer a speedier and more advanced way of storing data on servers.

After a number of years of development, the Bcache File System (Bcachefs) “is more or less feature complete — nothing critical should be missing,” wrote project head Kent Overstreet, in an e-mail to the Linux Kernel Mailing List late Thursday.

[PC World: Introducing BCachefs]

 



A New Use For A Familiar Tool

Gedit line numbersWhen he works out, Your JoeDog likes to do twenty reps of twenty things. Unfortunately, that’s a lot of shit to remember. “Wait, wait, wait — what set is this?”

Now whenever Your JoeDog loses track of his reps, he starts with the one he last remembered. A few weeks ago, he must’ve had amnesia. He woke up one morning and it felt like he was struck by a car the night before.

He tried marking lines on paper in the Roman counting fashion. But this is 2015 and he doesn’t have much paper. The previous evening’s bar tab kept rolling up and running away. Plus the Romans were slave holders. Why are we taking inspiration from them?

There’s gotta be an app for this, amirite? After a set of twenty, you can add an increment to your phone. Convenient! Except we know how that really works: after a set of twenty, you unlock your phone then add the set. Not Convenient.

Then a brain storm struck — hey, they happen sometimes. Your JoeDog codes in vim but he does use a programmer’s text editor for writing notes. “Hey! This thing has line numbers. I could use it to count my workout reps.”

Now Your JoeDog takes his dogs, his weights and his laptop onto the deck when he works out (it’s a production). After each rep, beginning with the second since the counter starts at one instead of zero, he simply hits the return key.

In Internets parlance this would be filed under “Life Hacks” but we’ll just call it an helpful heuristic. Hope it helps. Happy hacking.

 



Pinochle 2.0 (or how to manage cards in a GUI)

Your JoeDog’s Pinochle contains a bug. Under yet-to-be-determined circumstances, some cards won’t render. It’s not clear why. No exceptions are thrown; the cards just silently disappear. It only happens on startup. If you have cards when the game begins, you’ll have cards when it ends.

The game was written in java and we used the Overlap Layout to help manage the presentation of the hands. It was easy to implement but it led to some design gymnastics. For example, each player had a reference to the JPanel on which his cards were positioned. We suspect this is associated with the disappearances.

Rather than fight this design any further, Your JoeDog decided to rework the architecture. He wanted the GUI to be as dumb as possible. A thread runs in the background and it just paints cards on the table. That thread runs in an endless loop. It asks the model, “What am I painting? Where am I putting it?” The GUI — or View, in MVC parlance — also listens for mouse events. When the user clicky-clicks, it sends coordinates to the model to determine if a card was clicked. If a card was selected, the controller determines what should become of that.

To make this system work, Your JoeDog needed a way to track the coordinates of the cards. It was then that he stumbled upon JGameGrid. The author, Aegidius Plüss, treats each game piece as an Actor. Each actor contains a Location object which holds its positional coordinates. Your JoeDog didn’t steal the entire GameGrid but he did incorporate that notion into his pinochle game. When the View thread asks “What am I painting?” The model hands it a list of cards. When it needs to know “Where am I putting it?” It just asks each card. 

Version 2.0 should be available shortly. 



Hackers Have Your Ashley-Madison Account Information

It’s a bad time for cheaters. Two months after Adult Friend Finder was compromised, Ashley-Madison was also hacked. The online infidelity broker was breached by a group known as “The Impact Team.” They now have account information for all of Ashley-Madison’s thirty-seven million users. Unless the website is permanently shut down, the “group” plans to release this information to the public:

Avid Life Media has been instructed to take Ashley Madison and Established Men offline permanently in all forms, or we will release all customer records, including profiles with all the customers’ secret sexual fantasies and matching credit card transactions, real names and addresses, and employee documents and emails. The other websites may stay online.

How many members do you think comprise “The Impact Team”? Their demand sounds like it was prompted by scorn. It sounds like a guy whose woman hooked-up on Ashley-Madison. He’s bitter and he wants the site removed. Your JoeDog will answer that question with his guess: it’s a team of one.

Ashley-Madison is a multi-million dollar industry. There’s no chance that Avid Life Media shuts down the site. The Impact Team will soon release that data and we’ll be treated to a lively news cycle. The list probably includes a sitting Senator or two….

Note: You can find the Adult Friend Finder database information here.

[Krebs: Online Cheating Site Ashley-Madison Hacked]



There’s Room For One More

Daying Sead SeaThe Daying Dead Sea is a man-made pool beneath a very large dome in Sichuan, China. The pool was constructed at the same latitude as the Middle Eastern dead sea. Its water is treated so matches its natural counterpart. With forty-three different minerals and microelements and twenty-two percent salinity, bathers float freely on the surface much like they do in the Middle East.

On July 11th, over 8000 people from all parts of China flocked to the pool for relief from this summer’s punishing heat. As far as we can tell, the pool’s motto is “There’s always room for one more.” Enjoy.

[The Economist]



Siege and NTLM Authentication

Sorry about the radio silence. Your JoeDog has been turning caffeine into code again. We’ve applied some patches to siege. Thanks to Rob, we fixed a potential segfault. Thanks to Kaspar, you guys can post from files that contain null bytes.

We’re also working on NTLM authentication. That’s the stuff Microsofties like to use when they configure IIS. At the moment, support is next to worthless. You can successfully authenticate but it doesn’t maintain session. So it works great for -g/–get requests but don’t expect to lay siege with it.

Your JoeDog wanted this code in the main branch so it was available to other developers. It does no harm to include this partially broken implementation. NTLM Authentication didn’t before today. Now it partially works. Baby steps, people. Baby steps.

Much of the implementation was stolen from wget-1.16. Their implementation was stolen from libcurl. The first rule of open source is this: never reinvent the wheel. Our problem does not involve hashing passwords into something IIS understands. The wget/libcurl code performs just fine. We’re having trouble maintaining session after authentication.

There’s a chance we’ll bundle a source distribution soon but in the meantime, siege-3.1.1 is available on GitHub:  JoeDog / Siege



New York City Skyline During Easter 1956

The NYC skyline during Easter of 1956.
The NYC skyline during Easter of 1956. There would probably be an uproar today. ‪ #‎HeIsRisen‬.

See that photograph at the top of this here blog entry? It’s currently making the rounds through social media along with the caption below it. A fellow Dogger brought it to our attention. There was something about the image that didn’t sit well with him. We agree.

First things first. Yes, there would be some uproar if this happened today. The US is more diverse now than it was sixty years ago. There might be fewer gripes if they celebrated all religious holidays along with Easter. Although that might be even messier. If contemporary uproar is your concern, imagine what would happen if they displayed a crescent during Ramadan.

Second things second. It’s entirely possible that something like this did occur in 1950s New York. Your JoeDog used to live in Manhattan and he’s seen a wide array of light-oriented messages. It wouldn’t surprise him at all if Easter was crossy then.

New York City skyline 1950s postcard

Still, something doesn’t sit right. The tall building in the middle no longer exists but Your JoeDog found it in a contemporary postcard for sale on eBay.

We can see that structure here on the right. Of the three tallest buildings depicted here, the Chrysler Building is in the foreground and the Empire State Building (ESB) is to the rear. This means we’re looking at Manhattan over the East River from Brooklyn. Therefore the third tallest building in this group sits to the south.

In the photo with the Easter crosses, we find ESB on the left and Chrysler on the right. That means the crosses are north of us. Now consider the middle building. It’s north of both ESB and Chrysler. How is that possible? In the postcard it’s clearly to the south. Was the photo reversed? That’s possible but then buildings get taller as you near the river. That may have been accurate in 1956 but it’s not now.

So Your JoeDog isn’t sure what to make of this viral photograph. If the thought of a crossy New York puts a spring in your step, then who is he to harsh your mellow? At the same time, he wishes we would apply a little more scrutiny to items we pass through social media. It’s jungle of misinformation out there.



Leap Seconds And Siege

If you’re the kind of person who likes to close a bar on a Tuesday night, then good news for you! There are discrepancies between the amount of time it takes us to round the sun and the clocks we use to measure it. In order to correct those discrepancies, we add a second every once-in-a-while. That once-in-a-while is now! We add a second at midnight.

If this was a normal night, the sequence to midnight would look like this:

  2015-06-30 23.59.57
  2015-06-30 23.59.58
  2015-06-30 23.59.59
  2015-07-01 00.00.00
  2015-07-01 00.00.01

But this ain’t no normal night, mister. Tonight we add an additional second. That sequence looks like this:

  2015-06-30 23.59.57
  2015-06-30 23.59.58
  2015-06-30 23.59.59
  2015-06-30 23.59.60 <-- leap second
  2015-07-01 00.00.00
  2015-07-01 00.00.01

So if closing time arrives at Midnight, you can say to the bartender, “Not so fast, Jeeves! I’ve got another second!”

But let’s say — and why the hell not? — that instead of drinking beer, you like testing servers into the wee hours of the morning. What is siege going to do at 23:59:60? To be honest, I have no idea. Chances are your server won’t leap until its next NTP update. All transactions that occur during the adjustment will probably be skewed a second too long. (It might be a good idea to run the update manually)

NOTE: So how do you sync your Linux laptop with one of the government’s atomic clocks? Just use the time server at the National Institute of Standards. You can do that with the ntpdate command like this:

Bully # ntpdate time.nist.gov 
30 Jun 17:34:36 ntpdate[3977]: adjust time server 128.138.141.172 offset -0.026286 sec


Did The St. Louis Cardinals Hack Into Another Team’s Database?

Get A Brain! Morans - Did St. Louis Hack the Astro's databaseYour JoeDog roots for the Pittsburgh Pirates. They are a major league baseball team in the same division as the St. Louis Cardinals. On June 16, the New York Times broke a bombshell story about the Cardinals. They were under investigation by the FBI for breaking into a Houston Astros database.

That seems like an odd choice, right? At the time of the 2013 breach, the Astros weren’t particularly good. They weren’t even in the same division as the Cardinals. Yet they did have something with which St. Louis was familiar, a General Manager named Jeff Luhnow. He worked with the Cardinals before he was hired by Houston in 2011.

When Luhnow was with the Cardinals, he built a computer system known as Redbird. It was a large database filled with scouting information and player analysis. In Houston, he built a similar system called Ground Control. It was basically Redbird under a different name. So St. Louis was familiar with the system but by 2013 they didn’t have Luhnow’s updated information. Did they breach Houston’s computers in order to obtain it? The FBI thinks that’s possible.

One of FBI’s supoenas sought information on the IP addresses from which the attackers logged into Ground Control. It is believed those addresses point directly to the Cardinals or Cardinals’ personnel. The breach itself wasn’t particularly sophisticated. The attacker just stone cold logged in with a password. Again, this takes us back to St. Louis.

Remember, Luhnow used to work with the Cardinals. He brought several Cardinals’ employees with him to Houston. There’s a pretty good chance they had dormant accounts back in St. Louis. Those accounts had login credentials. If any of those former Cardinals employees reused their credentials in Houston, St. Louis had everything it needed to break in.

In the worst case for computer security, St. Louis stored its passwords in the clear (or an employee left a sticky note on his desk). With this information, all they needed to do was log in. If passwords were stored in a secure hash, then St. Louis could have downloaded a password cracker like John The Ripper to get the goods.

This goes beyond anything Tom Brady did. This is no Deflategate. If the accusations hold, then people in St. Louis committed wire fraud, computer hacking, corporate espionage and theft of trade secrets. Those crimes are punishable with incarceration. The guilty won’t find a low level equipment manager to take the fall for this one. The stakes are way too high for that.



We’re Here, We’re Rainbowy. Get Used To It.

GitHub prideIf you’re the sort of person who gets fifty kinds of upset over boys marryin’ boys, then Your JoeDog has a helpful tip: don’t visit GitHub.com today. The company changed its logo background so it would be all rainbowy — OMG, that’s the queer color!!1! You have to be logged in to see it. The main page still contains a boring grey background.

The Pridetocat image — which appears in the upper left corner of this post — actually pre-dates Friday’s ruling. In early June, GitHub began selling Pridetocat t-shirts. All proceeds from the sales of those shirts go to Lesbians Who Tech, Maven, and Trans*H4CK (pronounced “transhack”). According to GitHub, those organizations help educate, connect and empower LGBTQ people in tech.

Now Your JoeDog is generally on top of contemporary anagrams but he never saw a Q in LGBT before. What does that stand for? According to a The USA Today article it can be either Queer or Questioning. At JoeDog Industries, we feel it’s not our place to decide which Q applies to any particular person. And who cares, really? We’re busy turning coffee into code. So back to hacking….