UNB/ CS/ David Bremner/ tags/ rant

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Today I received some marketing bumpf from my employer, which on top of being a charming way to spend money while cutting my unit budget, is frankly an embarassment from the point of view of security and privacy.

Every link in this supposed communication from UNB is a link to a third party site, with the host name consisting mainly of digits. When we receive large scale phishing attacks every week so, training people to ignore funny looking urls doesn't seem like a great idea. All of these URLs contain tracking cookies, presumably so that Eloqua can sell UNB information about the mail reading habits of its employees and alumni.

It finishes with the following text.

UNB occasionally sends out important announcements to the UNB community. To unsubscribe from these emails, please click
here <http://s1961286906.t.en25.com/e/cu?s=1961286906&elqc=11&elq=my_cookie_deleted>.
To unsubscribe from all future UNB emails, please click here
Privacy Statement
UNB, the UNB Advancement Office and third party host Eloqua/Oracle are committed to protecting the personal information of
all UNB Alumni. The information collected will be used for the purposes of promoting and supporting UNB events, activities,
and endeavours and will be accessible to UNB Advancement database administrators. Connection to third party host is via
Secure Socket Layer (SSL) technology. For more information on the protection of personal information at UNB please consult
the University Secretariat, University of New Brunswick, PO Box 4400, Fredericton, NB, E3B 5A3 www.unb.ca/secretariat (506)

Can you spot the lie? Of course I mean the technical error about about http and https. What kind of cynic do you take me for?

Never mind what the government said
They're either lying or they've been misled...

Bruce Coburn, Burn, 1986

Posted Mon 14 Mar 2016 10:07:00 PM ADT Tags: /tags/rant

I understand that Facilities Management has a challenge dealing with antiquated control systems, but I still find the following pretty funny. Imagine if every fall I sent around a message saying "Getting back into the swing of lecturing is really too hard, so I won't be showing up for about 1/2 of the lectures. Check back after Halloween, where I should have figured out where all my classes are." Well, who knows, maybe from the student side it feels like that already.

Subject: PREPARING FOR THE HEATING SEASON: a message from Facilities Management

As cooler weather approaches, UNBF Facilities Management will be systematically turning on building heating systems.

Wide outdoor temperature swings from night to day will necessitate turning on some buildings later than others, resulting in some buildings being cooler in the mornings. Please consider appropriate attire during this shoulder season.

We appreciate your understanding while we prepare for the colder months ahead.

Posted Mon 14 Sep 2009 08:24:00 AM ADT Tags: /tags/rant

So, a few weeks ago I wanted to play play some music. Amarok2 was only playing one track at time. Hmm, rather than fight with it, maybe it is time to investigate alternatives. So here is my story. Mac using friends will probably find this amusing.

  • minirok segfaults as soon I try to do something #544230

  • bluemingo seems to only understand mp3's

  • exaile didn't play m4a (these are ripped with faac, so no DRM) files out of the box. A small amount of googling didn't explain it.

  • mpd looks cool, but I didn't really want to bother with that amount of setup right now.

  • Quod Libet also seems to have some configuration issues preventing it from playing m4a's

  • I hate the interface of Audacious

  • mocp looks cool, like mpd but easier to set up, but crashes trying to play an m4a file. This looks a lot like #530373

  • qmmp + xmonad = user interface fail.

  • juk also seems not to play (or catalog) my m4a's

In the end I went back and had a second look at mpd, and I'm pretty happy with it, just using the command line client mpc right now. I intend to investigate the mingus emacs client for mpd at some point.

An emerging theme is that m4a on Linux is pain.

UPDATED It turns out that one problem was I needed gstreamer0.10-plugins-bad and gstreamer0.10-plugins-really-bad. The latter comes from debian-multimedia.org, and had a file conflict with the former in Debian unstable (bug #544667 apparently just fixed). Grabbing the version from testing made it work. This fixed at least rhythmbox, exhaile and quodlibet. Thanks to Tim-Philipp Müller for the solution.

I guess the point I missed at first was that so many of the players use gstreamer as a back end, so what looked like many bugs/configuration-problems was really one. Presumably I'd have to go through a similar process to get phonon working for juk.

Posted Sat 29 Aug 2009 12:32:00 PM ADT Tags: /tags/rant

OK, so tell me if you think this is a graceful failure mode. I have some logfiles owned by a non-root user, with a non-default group (mail). Logrotate is running as that user. Logrotate wants to preserve the group, but can't (which is lame to start with, since chgrp manages fine). OK, I don't really care what group owns the log files I think to myself, on to more pressing things like writing rants in my blog. Some months later I notice that when the chown fails, logrotate compresses my file to zero bytes.. For those of you who slept through information theory, that means the file is toast.

The upshot is I have acquired an inexplicable interest in alternatives to logrotate. In no particular order, I noticed

Also, I learned about the rm command, which duplicates the functionality of logrotate, but is much easier to configure.

Posted Fri 06 Jun 2008 12:00:00 AM ADT Tags: /tags/rant