The Myth of Internet Privacy and Security

I have been following the massive coverage of the Snowden affair with detached professional interest as someone with some Internet security experience. I recently read Bruce Schneier’s call to arms to the technical community to take back the Internet, and it got me thinking about what we have lost and what we actually had in […]

Entropy in Cloud Computing Applications

Entropy, as it pertains to computer science and cryptography, is one of those topics that most of us (myself included) largely take for granted these days. In this context, entropy is a source of pseudorandomness that is typically collected by the operating system and made available to applications via a pseudorandom number generator (PNRG). We […]

How to Jailbreak iPhone 3.01

Apple just released the iPhone 3.01 firmware update, and that means it is time to update my jailbroken iPhone to 3.01 and then jailbreak it again. In the past, I have been a happy user of PwnageTool for the jailbreak, and I would be again except that PwnageTool hasn’t been updated yet for the 3.01 […]

How to Detect the Front (Home) Page of a WordPress Blog

I recently wanted to add a WordPress widget that would be conditionally visible in the sidebar of the front (home) blog page only. A reasonable search on this topic turns up a large collection of information and discussion — most of which turns out not to work. The following is a brief overview I what […]

How to Create an Amazon EC2 AMI That is Larger Than 10GB

Recently, I have been dealing with an issue surrounding the 10GB size limit for AMIs within Amazon’s EC2 service. If you don’t what I’m talking about, here is a quick primer: a virtual instance running within Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) service is launched from a read-only boot image that Amazon refers to as an […]

Ephemeral Drives in Amazon EC2 – When Are They Mounted?

Virtual instances running in Amazon’s EC2 service have several ephemeral disk drives that can be used for temporary storage (temporary because they are not persisted as part of the AMI). Recently, I had to figure out exactly when those drives were mounted and available during boot. The specific issue I was seeing was that I […]

Cygwin Lighttpd with SSL

Last week, I needed to configure a Windows 2003 AMI in EC2 to run lighttpd with SSL. Once again, a simple job that I thought would be quick and painless turned into an extensive hacking session. Here is a quick roadmap of what I did. My initial thought was that there must be a native […]

Cygwin SSHd on a Windows 2003 AMI Within Amazon EC2

Recently, I needed to configure a Windows 2003 AMI in EC2 to run a ssh server. I would have expected this to be a simple job, with a variety of choices for making this work, but in the end it was far more time consuming, complicated, and frustrating than I would have guessed. Here is […]