Saturday, October 21, 2017

The Echo Chamber

I've been involved with Bitcoin since the beginning, though ironically never made much (or any) money due to stupid decisions. For instance, I once had 275 BTC, but sold because I was poorer years ago and needed that cash. If only.... darn investing.

I've seen it rise and fall. The second big rise I missed because, again, I had to cash out to pay taxes and a down payment on a home. This after a YEAR of it sitting flat. Ugh.

So I feel pretty stupid, but still it grows. Now as the Oct 25 fork approaches, people are pouting money in, thinking they'll get presumably valuable 'Bitcoin Gold' along with their Bitcoin, which they will. However, Bitcoin Gold may or may not have any value. It may not go as well as the prior fork of Bitcoin Cash.

In any event, I've visited all the usual cryptocurrency sites and channels, and like news, they are all feedback loops. ALL positive news. Any negative news or comments are shut down or glossed over.

Meanwhile, we have the nightly news telling us the stock market hit a new high and 'should you invest?'. All this indicates to me bubbles about to pop.

As nation-states create their own cryptocurrencies, they will relegate the others to black-market use.

We'll see if I'm right or wrong. What do you think (aside from your hopes of course ;p)?

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Jumping from Ubuntu 14.04 Server to Ubuntu 16.04 Server w/o Planning

So this is what happens when you make this switch:
  1. PHP goes to v7.0, which means no legacy mysql procedural interface, though the mysqli procedural interface is an easy substitute, though not identical (e.g. arguments reversed in order in some calls, or additional arguments required when used in procedural mode). Check and fix errors as they are emitted, then identify similar with searches.
  2. MySQL goes to 5.7. That means some more strict mode changes, for instance I had to add an unset field in INSERT statement that error'd in 5.7, but was fine in 5.6. Or you can disable strict mode.
  3. Faster performance. PHP 7.0 claims to be 100% faster than the last major version (v6 was skipped). Figured I'd mention something good.
  4. Apache listening only on IPv6, wha?!? Or so it might appear in netstat at first. Really it is focusing on IPv6 and handling the incoming IPv4 over the IPv6 interface using mapping, from what I gather thus far. Again, I am not a server admin, I don't have time to be a one, as I am a developer. I just do it because I have to.
Generally otherwise OK. Watch out for the little things and tail the error logs constantly is my advice. Otherwise, nice to be on a build we know is supported for years from a security perspective. BUT if I had it do over again, definitely I would have stayed with 14.04, as I did not realize just how big a switch this would be!

I would NOT, under ANY circumstances, advise a do-release-upgrade on a production server! Build a new server and replace. I did that even in this case, just didn't want to rebuild to 14.04 when I'd went to 16.04.

Gripes: No HTTP 2.0 in default Apache2 package. No reboot-less kernel updates.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Discount code - 30% off ANY Bitsum software

This would be shameless self-promotion, but I won't try to sell you - the site will do that (I hope!). However, if you need a coupon code (aka discount code) for Bitsum Technologies software like Process Lasso, ParkControl, CPUBalance, etc... then use TAKEOFF30PLZ 

Visit Bitsum

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Worst Updater Ever - Epson (yes, the printers again!)

We've all contended with terrible printer drivers wasting countless hours of technician or personal time, but now we have print systems that generally work.

As many know, other software companies like Google and Bitsum (wide spectrum there!) use a single-click no-hassle updater.

So now we get to the point.

Epson, whose hardware seems good, for whatever reason, displays a huge notice every single time it even *checks* for an update. Granted, it sure asks for permission first, but is highly annoying.

Now, this NOT only on the PC you maybe connected the printer to via USB (it is WiFi), this occurs on *every* device that you connect to the printer, as it is part of the 'printer drivers' that get installed on the client. Am I the only one?

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Using developer source code revision control tools to keep your server secure

The largest fear of any server admin is a breach. No matter how cautious you are, it can happen. (e.g. 0 day exploit)

One of the ways you can help protect your server is by making sure you keep critical files under version control systems like Git or Subversion (SVN). Then you can monitor for any file system changes, any remote access trojans inserted, etc.. Of course, limitations apply if the server is fully compromised, rootkit style.

After all, these days, a web site *is* indeed a code base.
We at Bitsum do everything we can to keep what limited data we store (basically your name and contact info) secure.

Bing adverts may direct you to malware laden copy of Google Chrome

As we'e seen with VLC and other open projects at adwords, the fraudsters love to rebundle and advertise. They've done the same with Google Chrome at Bing:



Noe that I've written about this several times in few places. Too many blogs, forums, and social networks - not sure where to post any more. Lesson here: Be careful out there!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

How installer bundle companies solicit developers

If you ever wondered how freeware/shareware developers are solicited by installer bundle companies, here's an example I received recently:

Dear Software Developer, Did you know that you could be earning money every time someone downloads your software? 
In fact, hundreds of developers just like you are already turning downloads into profits through partnership with SweetPacks. My name is Limor Garten, and I am a partnership manager at SweetPacks (www.sweetpacks.com). 
We create monetization opportunities from software installations through websites such asCNET (Download.com), Softonic.com and MetaInstaller. To find out about how you could earn money with every software download, please contact me directly at partnerships@sweetpacks.com or leave your details at http://lp.sweetim.com/Partners. Thanks very much,J******* M*****SweetPacks Team

It's long past time that companies who sign up for such abusive installer bundles start being penalized for harming the integrity, performance, and overall experience of countless PCs, and contributing to a general lack of trust for all third-party applications.

What are installer bundles?

For those that don't know, installer bundles are those deceptive, unwanted, additional pieces of software, often browser toolbars/add-ons, that present themselves in an intentionally easy to miss little checkbox during installation of some Windows software, particularly freeware and shareware. This terrible industry is so profitable that free, open source software is often repackaged with these bundles, then advertised and distributed by some random 'download site'.