I’ve finally decided to try out Google’s 2-Step Authentication feature. This is a fantastic way to keep your account from being compromised. Since I am an avid traveler and I sometimes sign into my account from untrusted machines I wanted a better way to ensure security for my Google accounts.
There is one small annoyance that I found wasn’t documented clearly on Google’s pages. I often found that when I got to the page to enter in my authentication code it would automatically check “Don’t ask for codes again on this computer.” By habit I hit enter after I type in the code and I’m into my account and this computer has now been added to my trusted list. This means next time I sign in from that particular computer I will not be asked for the additional verification code. To undo this you can either clear the cookies in the same browser or visit http://accounts.google.com/security, click “Settings” next to 2-Step authentication, and then remove the computer as being trusted. Both are steps you shouldn’t have to consciously perform when you are trying to keep things extra secure.
When I searched for a reason, I found a small Google Groups thread briefly talking about the issue but unfortunately the comments were less than helpful and the thread is now closed. I’ve noticed the behavior changes based on how you initially log into GMail/Google. The sign-in page by default will have “Stay signed in” automatically checked. When this is checked, 2-Step Authentication assumes you want to trust this computer because you can’t actually “Stay signed in” on an untrusted computer. It’s still not an ideal default for the extra security minded, but if anyone was wondering why 2-Step defaults to trusting a computer, this is why. Uncheck that box before you continue and the subsequent “Don’t ask for codes again on this computer.” will be unchecked. Or just uncheck “Don’ ask for codes again on this computer.” before you continue.
Occasionally it makes sense to do some house cleaning. If you visit the 2-Step Verification section from accounts.google.com/security you can also clear out all previously trusted computers just to be sure.
After that you can put on your tin foil hat and laugh maniacally.
April 9th, 2013
This wasn’t immediately straight forward but in the end quite simple. This is particularly for a 32-bit RHEL 5 host running cPanel.
Get onto your host and either become root or use these commands with sudo:
rpm -Uvh epel-release-5-4.noarch.rpm
yum --disableexcludes=main install git
January 7th, 2013
Success! I finally managed to resurrect the old WordPress site here. The database files have been sitting dormant on an old 800MHz FreeBSD host. I managed to forcefully import the MyISAM tables to my dedicated server infrastructure and then restored the PHP installation. I had to completely piff the old themes and plugins in order to get the admin section to load properly but after that it was amazing to see the dashboard actually offered an automated update. Here we are back in business with a pretty somber theme compared to what I used before. First things first though.
June 18th, 2012
I’ve recently been introduced to the program “screen”. It allows you to open mulitple terminal sessions once you are logged into a machine. It’s similar to the idea of having multiple tabs in a Firefox browser. You only need to open one xterm/putty/ssh session, run screen, and you have multiple (excuse the direct reference) screens through a single login.
Why would I want to do this? Convenience and also safeguarding.
Convenience: While working from my Windows machine I used to open multiple putty windows for multi-tasking on my server, but this now allows me to open as many command line session as I need without cluttering up Winows’s task bar. It’s also incredibly quick to have a fresh screen without even touching the mouse.
Safeguarding: Residential high-speed internet is great, but far from 100% reliable. If you loose your internet connection while working on a file or running a compile, it is a huge pain to get your sessions back up and running. If you were running your commands from within screen, all you have to do is log back in and re-connect to your screen session. All of your work is sitting there as if you never left. This also is fantastic if you have a session started from one machine and have to move to a different one and pickup where you left off. Brilliant!
I ran into a small hiccup using Finch from within a screen session. This may only apply to users running Finch within a screen session while logged into a server with PuTTy.
Symptoms: Finch runs great before you invoke screen. The textual graphics/borders render properly. Once you run screen and launch Finch within, the graphics/borders become a bunch of annoying characters instead.
Solution: This one is done completely from PuTTy. In your running session click the upper leftPuTTy icon and select “Change settings…”. Navigate to Window -> translation and select UTF-8 from the drop down. Click Apply. Then from your screen window force a refresh/redraw by hitting Ctrl-A and the L. You should now see a properly rendered Finch.
June 13th, 2008
This last week and a half have been a blur. Colleen rode the bus with me to O’Hare. It was so hard to leave her cute, loving, encouraging face. I don’t know what I would do without her support in chasing this dream of mine. The bus ride was great with her. Traffic unfortunately was not. Thankfully I still had enough time to make it through security and check my bags. Turns out you can only have 50lbs in each checked bag now. I was forced to redistribute some weight between my two bags right in the middle of the airport. That or pay $50. Seeing as though I was only 6 pounds off the mark, I couldn’t really justify the cost. That’s like 25 quid! I’ll need that later!
I flew on Air Canada. The flight leaving from O’Hare was very smooth and short. Arrival in Ottawa wasn’t all that great though. Despite it being a registered connection flight, we were all required to retrieve our bags and then re-check them in. Maybe this cuts down on baggage lost? Or maybe it’s just another security check. I was a little worried it would cause too much delay between flights, but our flight out from Ottawa was delayed about 30 minutes before we could actually board. Things were looking just fine.
When I had originally booked my flight, I was able to pick out a nice window seat. 29A or something like that, but upon receiving my boarding passes I realized they switched my seat and put me in 39K – the absolute last seat right next to the airplane bathrooms. I was a bit bummed about this so I nicely explained my situation and asked the check-in attendant if there was anything she could do. Right in the middle of explaining to me how there was a last minute, unscheduled plane change and how booked the flight was, something must have gone off on the screen because she quickly asked if 24A would be alright, and not to be rude and rush me but it would probably be gone in a matter of seconds. Unhesitatingly I said “Yes please!” and I was back in action. This seat landed me next to a Canadian guy named Lee. He was pretty excited as it would be his first trip out of the country. In true Canadian form, he was incredibly friendly and incredibly chatty.
Our flight delay didn’t stop there, however. One of the passengers went missing despite her bags being checked and on the plane. This resulted in about an hour and a half of searching for her, removing her baggage from the plane, and then finding her in the terminal lost but ready to go. Her bags were then stowed again and we were finally off.
As our plane made its way around the tarmac I peered out the window at a bizarre scene. One of the terminals was in shambles. Wires hanging out everywhere, construction vehicles cleaning up. It definitely looked like something went terribly wrong at that terminal no more than a day ago. Further along on the side of the runway lay a carcass of a plane. The windows were covered over and it looked as though the engines had been shorn straight off the back. I can’t say for sure, but it makes me wonder if all of this doesn’t add up to the unscheduled plane change the check-in attendant had briefly mentioned. I was suddenly even more thrilled that I was not sitting in seat 29A on the mystery plane.
The plane change also meant more leg room. Instead of an AirBus, we were on a newer Boeing with in-seat entertainment and head supports. (This is something I may have to get installed in my car back home… hehe)
After arriving completely jet lagged in London at 8AM (2 hours late) I made my groggy way to Dan’s flat. I had enough time to catch a nap. That night we went out for dinner at one of his friend’s places. He made us some sort of Shepard’s Pie. It was really good! Some sort of ground turkey baked with mashed potatoes on top with a thin top layer of cheese. Halfway through eating his two sons arrived and immediately asked if Dan and I could do the Fargo Wisconsin accent. I can’t say I’ve ever been requested to speak in an exaggerated Wisconsin (Minnesota/Canadian) accent in my life. They were laughing pretty hard at the interaction and even called the act “brilliant!”. I was thrilled hehe.
The session that night, at least what I remember of it, was really fun. I had a chance to play a mandola, mandolin, and banjo. Jet lag got the best of me though and I found myself nodding. It felt good to finally get some proper sleep that night.
April 12th, 2008
I finally had a chance to enjoy the outdoors. My cold is wanning and the floor project is finished. It’s amazing what some new tiles and new light bulbs can do for a room.
January 30th, 2008
Our landlords have neglected our pleas to clean up a mold problem in the kitchen since March of 2007 due to a leaky and broken dishwasher. We finally took the matter into our own hands replacing the damaged floor and broken appliance on our own. Our discovery revealed a problem far worse than we imagined. Black, green, and white molds along with dead mushrooms were hiding behind the stove and under the dishwasher! Gross!
January 30th, 2008
The 365 Day Self Portrait project is going pretty well. I’m finding it is difficult to come up with a shot every day, but I suppose that’s part of the challenge.
My copy of Lightroom showed up today. That should help me stay on top of the photos. Hopefully it’ll encourage me to catch up on a lot of the missed shots.
January 25th, 2008
It’s been about a year and a half since I’ve last written. A dear friend of mine and I just got back in touch and one of the first things she noted was that my personal blog had become stagnant. Indeed it has. In fact it closely speaks how this last year and a half has been counter productive for my creativity. I haven’t even picked up my camera in that amount of time either. This is another issue that I am attempting to remedy.
I’ve met dead ends with my music, photography, writing, and traveling in 2007. It hit even harder when I went to my photo collection to try and put together a “This Year in Photos” collection for 2007. I came up with a sad group of 32 candidates of which I wasn’t all that happy with.
Just a couple of nights ago I reconnected with my friend Julie and had a chance to officially meet her friend Rachel. Both have wonderful energy about them and they convinced me to start shooting again by joining a flicker project called 365 Days. A project with a simple rule: One self portrait every day for 365 days. I think it’s a great excuse to bring the camera back out, and it may indirectly spur some more writing as well. As soon as I figure out all the nooks and crannies of Flickr I’ll integrate it into my blog for good measure.
Happy New Year seventeen days late! It’s never too late to make new resolutions.
January 17th, 2008
There are very few times that you can go somewhere and feel like you’re absolutely alone on this planet. As the cold months approach more quickly I can’t help but think back to the moment I stepped foot into the freezing plane that is Russia last January. Minus forty degrees centigrade is pretty impressive and surprisingly bearable. For two hours at most that is. It hardens you and makes you appreciate our warmer Wisconsin winters and even more so our ability to have reliable heat in our homes.
During our trans-siberian train journey, Rachel, Nat, and I found ourselves planted in a town called Litsvyanka – home to the world’s deepest body of water Lake Baikal. In January, at minus forty degrees, Lake Baikal is frozen through to about three meters. Cold steam and powdered ice float across the frozen lake creating a very surreal landscape.
We decided to hike across the lake for the experience. No wind barriers and a large block of frozen ice below, it is probably the worlds largest open air freezer. Twenty minutes into our hike our hands and toes became numb and painful. To keep from becoming meat popsicles stuck to the lake we had to jog the length of the it to the nearest building – shelter – anything! Jogging was a necessity as the circulation to your feet and hands is not enough to keep them from frost bite despite having layers of clothing (i.e. everything we had in our travel bags).
One of the most interesting feelings while trying not to freeze to death was that of the bizzarre quiet the absence of humanity creates. We were the only three people crazy enough to be out at the lake at this time. Add the muffled sounds of our boots coming in through our bundled up heads and it feels like you’re in some sort of dream land that doesn’t really exist. Despite being labled as “crazy” and “insane” I would love to revisit during the bitter cold just to have that surreal intensity again.
A foreign land, a foreign landscape, and a foreign temperature. Of course the locals see it as normal, but we don’t have anything like that in the U.S. to compare it to.
November 14th, 2006