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March 2005 Archives

March 1, 2005

Software is great until users screw it up

Every month, our e-mail list server sends out “reminder” e-mails to everyone who is subscribed to all the lists that we provide. These e-mails are essentially, “Hey, don’t forget that you’re subscribed to this list. If you don’t want to be subscribed to this list anymore, here’s how you unsubscribe…”

Periodically, we get irate users who reply to us about various things — sometimes justified, sometimes not. Sometimes the angry replies are so misguided as to be quite amusing. Here’s one — including my reply to him — that came in this month:

On Mar 1, 2005, at 7:32 AM, L. User wrote:
I just realized for the first time, each time you send me a membership reminder, you send me my password, UN-ENCRYPTED.

Correct. This is how the GNU Mailman software works — you will find the same setup on a very large number of other mailing lists around the internet. The fact is that there is no good way to have 100% secure passwords in software that is driven by e-mail. In order to reach a wide variety of people with a huge diversity in mail clients, one cannot assume encryption. This was not our decision — please feel free to take it up with the GNU Mailman developers.

On the list subscription page, it quite clearly says:

“You may enter a privacy password below. This provides only mild security, but should prevent others from messing with your subscription. Do not use a valuable password as it will occasionally be emailed back to you in cleartext.”

Are you people nuts?


I use that password for all my email accounts!!!!

If you truly are a security-conscious person, you:

a) should not do that
b) should not have admitted that in an un-encrypted e-mail

Now stop doing that, or else un-subscribe me.

If you are unhappy with the [free] service provided to you, please feel free to unsubscribe at the following URL: http….

Thanks for your time.

March 27, 2005

It's been a while. So

It’s been a while. So in JJournal tradition:

  • you, the reader, will cope
  • I, the author, will do a bullet list of things that has happened

And so here we go:

  • My C* Terry had a beautiful baby daughter, Alexandra R. W00t!
  • Perk has started blogging again. Man, he’s one weird dude.
  • Brian has started blogging again. He had the e-mail featuring working once, but it hasn’t worked since.
  • Open MPI is going swimmingly. It could be going faster, but things are generally going well. We’re actually going to have a working meeting here in Louisville in mid-April, which will be tres-kewl.
  • We have a new nanny — the old one, Pricsilla, had to unexpectedly go off and join the family business (a pizzaria). We wish her well. So we had to go through the entire interview process again to find a new one, but we ended up with a great one. Our new nanny, Bethany, is fantastic; we love her.
  • The munchkins are doing quite well. They’re about 7.5 months old, but since they were born a little more than 3 weeks early, they’re really only about 6.5 months old. They can maintain a sitting up position by themselves (although they can’t get to a sitting up position by themselves yet). We’re still working on sleep patterns — we were advised by our pediatrician that we had been conditioned by collic, and that we were “doing it all entirely wrong.” Well, we took that to heart and have been actively working on the munchkin sleep patterns every since. Although the patterns are not perfect yet, all of us are getting a lot more sleep and are generally happier.
  • Everyone should visit the MPI wiki. Go post something!
  • All of our favorite Sci-Fi shows are ending their seasons (SG-1, Atlantis, Battlestar Galactica) — months of repeats. Sigh.
  • I think that I had a previous journal entry about my wife being unable to VPN back to her work from her Dell laptop over the wireless in our home. She could successfully VPN over a wired connection every time, but using the wireless, it was about a 1-in-20 shot as to whether the connection would succeed or not. I randomly noticed that the firmware in my D-Link router was rather out of date, so I upgraded it yesterday. Bingo — everything works perfectly now.
  • If you’re getting e-mail about how we should boycott certain gas stations in order to cut off money to the middle east, this is a total fake (or someone is totally misinformed). Most importantly: don’t pass it on! See www.snopes.com for details debunking this urban legend.
  • Both XM radio and Tivo have entered long-term deals with Huge Companies, so I’m happy. XM upped their monthly subscription rates to match their competitor’s rates (grumble), but it’s an increase of only about $36/year, so I guess I can’t complain too much.
  • I just found out that my DSL provider offers faster speeds for less money per month than what I’m currently paying. Seems like a no-brainer to switch. I just need to ensure that my current DSL modem can handle the faster speeds (indications are that it can [marketing drivel on the box says that it can handle the faster download speed, but it doesn’t say anything about the upload speed], but it’s a few years old and is no longer on the vendor’s web site, so I need to call their tech support to be sure, which isn’t open until Monday).
  • It seems like the MT blog spam people are regularly updating the spam list, which means less actions required of me for spam blocking. W00t!
  • As of today, my desktop at home has an uptime of 256 days. To mark this event, I re-upped my Mandrake Club subscription.
  • Some friends of mine are still in Iraq. Even though you don’t know them personally, please think of them.
  • Mike B. has tried to get a Tivo twice now. The first time was from a guy on eBay who received it as a gift and didn’t want it, so he sold it — still sealed in its original packing. It was DOA. So he took it back to the local Tivo RMA warehouse and got another one. It got to the welcome screen and then died. Bonk. We’ll see if 3rd time is the charm…
  • Johnney and Mikey S will be coming out here next month for a weekend. W00t!

I’ve probably forgotten important stuff. If so, you’ll never know it!

March 29, 2005

Purple catepillars

Two journal entries in as many days — it’s crazy, I tell you!

  • I ordered faster DSL from my ISP today. Should be available in a few days. W00t!
  • When I upgraded the firmware on my D-Link router, it fixed the problem of it hanging up on my ssh sessions. I can’t believe how happy this has made me — I can leave ssh sessions idle for hours and hours and hours and they don’t hang up on me! This sounds like such a small thing, but always remembering to have to run a “idle” script (e.g., “while (1) uptime; sleep 300;”) was a major PITA. There is nothing more annoying than coming back to a terminal after lunch or a meeting and finding that your emacs — with currently running compiles, active debuggers, and all your relevant source code files open — has gone because the router hung up on an “inactive” ssh session.
  • Kaitlyn has this funny “I don’t know if I’m happy or unhappy” face — when she’s grumpy/tired at the end of the day, and you do something to make her smile or laugh, her face controts into this funny grimace resembling Mr. Potato Head on crack.
  • Kathryn is verbalizing up a storm these days (they’re both “talking”, obviously, but Kathryn talks more than Kaitlyn). Particularly when she’s happy or excited, she’ll continuously make “bleh” noises.
  • I got a guest account on Yahoo! 360. Very cool stuff!

March 31, 2005

Fun fact

The LAM/MPI web site (http://www.lam-mpi.org/), including all of its mailing list archives and software downloads, is 1.25GB.

About March 2005

This page contains all entries posted to JeffJournal in March 2005. They are listed from oldest to newest.

February 2005 is the previous archive.

April 2005 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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